Archive for Horror News

image1JEFF MARIOTTE’S GUT-WRENCHING HORROR COMIC MINISERIES

FADE TO BLACK COLLECTED FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME!

 

BIRMINGHAM, UK, September 20, 2014 – Short, Scary Tales Publications (SST Publications) Owner, Paul Fry is very proud to announce the publication of award-winning author Jeff Mariotte’s acclaimed horror comic miniseries Fade to Black. Originally published as a 5-issue comic miniseries by Image Comics in 2010, this is the first time it has ever been collected and published together, as it was originally intended. The book is a beautiful full-colour hardcover, gorgeously illustrated by award-winning artist and comic book illustrator Daniele Serra. New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry contributed a new introduction, and the book features a new foreword by the author.

About the collected edition, Mariotte said, “Fade to Black was a dark and twisted story I wanted to tell for a long time, and with Daniele Serra, I found the perfect partner. Now we both have the perfect publisher with Paul Fry and SST Publications, who has put it all together as it was always meant to be seen. I couldn’t be more proud.”

The book is available now from all good booksellers and also direct from the publisher’s web site at www.sstpublications.co.uk.

View the cover art, sample pages, and all of the book’s details at www.sstpublications.co.uk/pr/ftb.pdf

About Jeff Mariotte: Jeff Mariotte is the award-winning author of more than fifty novels, including supernatural thrillers Season of the Wolf, Missing White Girl, River Runs Red, and Cold Black Hearts, horror epic The Slab, the Dark Vengeance teen horror quartet, and others. He is also the creator-writer of the long-running horror/Western comic book series Desperadoes and original graphic novel Zombie Cop, among many others. He has worked in virtually every aspect of the book and comic book/graphic novel business, including writing, bookselling, editing, and publishing, both for publishing companies and on a freelance basis. He lives in the American southwest. Find him online at www.jeffmariotte.com or www.facebook.com/JeffreyJMariotte.

About Daniele Serra: Daniele Serra was born and lives in Italy. He works as an illustrator and comic artist. His work has been published in Europe, Australia, United States and Japan. He has worked for DC Comics, Image Comics, Cemetery Dance, Weird Tales magazine, PS Publishing and other publications. He’s a winner of the British Fantasy Award. Find him at www.multigrade.it

About Jonathan Maberry: New York Times bestselling author of V-Wars, Fall of Night and Rot & Ruin.

About the Publisher: SST Publications (Short, Scary Tales Publications) is an independent publisher of all things dark. They have published several books; their first title, Cold Storage included an introduction by legendary author Graham Masterton. Their most recent books include the erotic horror anthology Peep Show, Volume 2 and the debut dark thriller novel Don’t Stand So Close by motion picture screenwriter and director Eric Red. They also published the classic erotic horror magazine Peep Show, and have recently launched their new horror fiction & dark art magazine Beware the Dark, which is a unique size (7.44 x 9.69 in), full-color interior, high-quality produced mag of between 100-130 pages bringing you the best dark and disturbing fiction and artwork. SST has also launched a new Art Book Series and will publish some of the best artists in the genre. The first title Veins and Skulls is by award-winning professional illustrator Daniele Serra. SST publishes their titles in multiple formats which are distributed worldwide by Ingram, the world’s largest book distributor.

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strangerooster

As you may have heard StrangeHouse Books was acquired by Rooster Republic Press today. First of all we are honored to be acquiring StrangeHouse and plan to continue its tradition of publishing Cult Horror Fiction. We are fans of the press and will continue to walk on the path it paved.

In fact, you probably won’t notice much of a difference with StrangeHouse going forward. We have no plans to change the back titles, and going forward we plan to put out a very similar product. StrangeHouse will become more focused on horror and Rooster Republic will become more focused on bizarro without horror themes.

Books in process with StrangeHouse will be reviewed and the authors contacted when a decision is made about future publication. Please be patient while we make this transition. Any questions can be directed to bizarropress@gmail.com

Rooster Republic Press

The current state of publishing doesn’t take kindly to rebels. So we founded our own Republic.

Big publishers inevitably force their authors into a state of dependence. So we declared our independence.

And just to make sure we got our point across, we made our mascot a cock. So they can suck it.

Welcome to the Rooster Republic: Sovereign State of Fiction.

StrangeHouse Books

Our goal as a publishing house in the 21st century is to publish shit so deliriously fucked up, outrageous, and blindingly neurotic, that even a behemoth as large as the Hollywood machine couldn’t replicate our books. They can create enormous spectacle and spend hundreds of millions of dollars on special effects, so we as writers must work harder to create characters and worlds that force our readers’ imaginations to explode into overdrive, or be left as an obscure anachronistic afterthought in the footnotes of entertainment history.

To that end, Kevin Strange created his own cult imprint with which to showcase the most bizarre, horrific, weird, and downright Strange fiction the genre has to offer; to knock literary fiction off its snooty pedestal and give it the drunken snogging it’s been asking for all these years. Great writing, insane plots, hot sex, and gratuitous violence make up the foundation for what is sure to be one of the most important publishing houses in cult horror history. StrangeHouse Books.

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Welcome to the second installment of the new column, “Unwelcome Tenants,” where Andrew Byers explores the contributions of British author Ramsey Campbell to H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos.  This piece will discuss two of Campbell’s Mythos stories, “The Room in the Castle” and “The Horror from the Bridge.”

“The Room in the Castle”

“The Room in the Castle” can be found in:

inhabitant-lake-arkham-house–The Inhabitant of the Lake and Less Welcome Tenants (Arkham House, 1964) and The Inhabitant of the Lake and Other Unwelcome Tenants (PS Publishing, 2011)
–Cold Print 1st edition (Scream/Press, 1985); 2nd edition (Tor, 1987); Expanded edition (Headline, 1993)
–Dark Feasts: The World of Ramsey Campbell (Robinson, 1987)
–Alone with the Horrors: The Great Short Fiction of Ramsey Campbell, 1961-1991 (found in the Arkham House, 1993, and Headline, 1994, editions but not included in the 2004 Tor edition)

The story we know as “The Room in the Castle” began life as “The Box in the Priory” in 1960 — when Ramsey Campbell was only fourteen years old — and was his first effort to expand on various Mythos references (in this case, some of Robert Bloch’s work).[1]  It was completed in November 1961.  The story is an obvious attempt to ape Lovecraft’s writing style and certainly benefits from Derleth’s editing (the original draft as “The Box in the Priory” is reprinted in full in PS Publishing’s The Inhabitant of the Lake and Other Unwelcome Tenants (2011).

Our narrator Parry (we never learn his first name) is a scholar doing research in the British Museum for a friend who runs across a series of legends describing a general avoidance of a certain hill outside the town of Brichester.  Though the legends are mixed in with a great deal of the traditional kind of folklore one might find in any long-inhabited rural area, it becomes clear to Parry that a being called Byatis is at the heart of the problem.[2]  Stories about Byatis go back to the Roman occupation of Britain (tying in with the overall Roman origins of Campbell’s Severn Valley setting), when Roman soldiers were said to have released Byatis from behind an ancient stone door in the hill where Byatis had been imprisoned by some unnamed people in antiquity, suggesting an indeterminate but ancient origin for Byatis.  There are other stories about Byatis through the ages, but at some point in the 1700s, Sir Gilbert Morley, a local aristocrat who owned a local castle of Norman origin, began dabbling in the sorcerous arts and found a way to imprison and control Byatis, who had inhabited the area for centuries.  Morley lured travelers to their doom and sacrificed them to Byatis, who fed on them, growing in size while remaining imprisoned in Morley’s cellar.  Eventually Morley disappeared; his fate is unknown, though consumption by Byatis seems likely.  Being the naturally curious sort, Parry decides to investigate further.  Fortunately, while Parry is a proper Lovecraftian scholar, he is also a man of action, almost in a Howardian fashion, and decides to do something about Byatis.

Campbell name-drops a number of Lovecraftian elements — the Necronomicon, Cthulhu, Shub-Niggurath, Dagon, and Daoloth (and Campbell’s original creation Glaaki, but more on that being in later stories) — but these are mostly just mentioned in passing.  One of the main sources of information for Parry is the eldritch tome De Vermis Mysteriis.[3]  One legend described Byatis as having “but one Eye like the Cyclops, and had Claws like unto a Crab…[and] a Nose like the Elephants…and great Serpent-like Growths which hung from its Face like a Beard, in the Fashion of some Sea Monster.”  Ultimately, when Parry does finally encounter Byatis, he glimpses only part of one of these facial tentacles, suggesting a truly vast size for the beast as a whole.

The story is filled with a blend of traditional legends, peasant superstition (Parry’s friend’s housekeeper gives him a “star-stone” emblazoned with the Elder Sign and referenced again in “The Horror from the Bridge, see below), and references to Christianity, making Parry’s job of sorting out the true nature of Byatis and how it might be stopped all the more difficult.  Despite the Christian references, Mythos elements seem to be far older, with Christian elements and symbols apparently having no effect in confrontations with Byatis.  Like Cthulhu and some of the other Mythos beings though, Byatis can be harmed — at least for a time — by something as simple as gasoline, which Parry uses to good effect when he decides to act (alone) against Byatis.  In that sense, “The Room in the Castle” has a happy ending in that Byatis is at least temporarily stopped, though it is clear that a being so enormous cannot easily be permanently slain.  Parry must live with his new-found knowledge that Byatis — and perhaps other “folkloric” creatures — are not simply tales repeated by superstitious peasants.

[1] Ramsey Campbell, “Afterword,” in The Inhabitant of the Lake and Other Unwelcome Tenants (PS Publishing, 2011).

[2] Note that the serpent-headed deity Byatis was invented neither by Campbell nor Lovecraft; it was first mentioned in Robert Bloch’s story “The Shambler from the Stars” (Weird Tales, September 1935), though Campbell developed Byatis to a far greater extent than did Bloch.

[3] Like Byatis itself, De Vermis Mysteriis (translated as Mysteries of the Worm) was created by Robert Bloch and appeared in “The Shambler from the Stars,” said to have been written by the necromancer and alchemist Ludwig Prinn. The tome has appeared almost ubiquitously in Mythos fiction, later appearing in stories by Lovecraft himself, who corresponded with Bloch; August Derleth; Robert M. Price; Brian Lumley; and Stephen King, among many others.

 

“The Horror from the Bridge”

“The Horror from the Bridge” can be found in:

the-inhabitant-of-the-lake-other-unwelcome-tenants-paperback-ps-publishingThe Inhabitant of the Lake and Less Welcome Tenants (Arkham House, 1964) and The Inhabitant of the Lake and Other Unwelcome Tenants (PS Publishing, 2011)

Cold Print 1st edition (Scream/Press, 1985); 2nd edition (Tor, 1987); Expanded edition (Headline, 1993)

A bit of an homage to Lovecraft’s “The Dunwich Horror,”[4] sharing some elements of H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, and inspired by one of Lovecraft’s own uncompleted story fragments in his “Commonplace Book”: “217 Ancient (Roman? prehistoric?) stone bridge washed away by a (sudden and curious?) storm. Something liberated which had been sealed up in the masonry of years ago. Things happen.”[5]  Just as with “The Room in the Castle,” we are treated to a lengthy history of supernatural goings-on, this time compiled in the researches of Philip Chesterton, a scholar who resigned his post at the British Museum to better keep an eye on the activities of a family of sorcerers residing in the decaying town of Clotten.  Ostensibly drawn from a typed manuscript found in Chesterton’s estate after his death, he himself becomes the primary antagonist of the sorcerers by the end of the tale.

The story begins in 1800 when a mysterious man named James Phipps moves into a house near the river in Clotten because “his unorthodox scientific researches were distasteful to the inhabitants” of Camside.  That should have given the neighbors pause, shouldn’t it?  Phipps becomes extremely interested in local legends of a supposed city of demons living under Clotten, with the entrance to their city buried somewhere under the river.  He increasingly becomes fixed on a local bridge and what may be under it.  Five years later, Phipps departs Clotten for a time, returning with an equally reclusive wife from Temphill; a year after, a son, Lionel, is born.  As Lionel matures, it becomes clear that he is being trained by his father and aids the man in his research (the exact nature of which remains unknown to the townsfolk).  The Necronomicon and the Book of Eibon are both mentioned in passing as sources of occult knowledge on celestial bodies (presumably the pair seek to perform certain occult rites when the “stars are right.”)[6]

The elder Phipps died in 1898, though the son continued his father’s research in earnest.  A nosy neighbor revealed several arguments between Lionel Phipps and his mother suggestive of a rather sinister origin for the mother: not only had she been part of a Satanic cult in Temphill before her marriage, but presumably like Phipps’ father, her life has been preserved beyond its normal span, with continuing treatments needed to preserve her semblance of life.  It may actually be that the increasingly frail mother was little more than a reanimated corpse by the twentieth century.

Derleth’s vision of a universe in which the Great Old Ones (i.e., Cthulhu and his ilk) were actively opposed by the Elder Gods is very much in evidence here.  The race trapped under Clotten’s bridge was apparently imprisoned there by the Elder Gods under a seal that will be swept away or destroyed when “Glyu’uho” is “rightly placed.”  Glyu-uho is another name for Betelgeuse in the fictional Naacal language, serving as either the home star of the Elder Gods or at least the location of a portal to their home dimension.  The scholar Chesterton becomes increasingly concerned about Lionel Phipps’ efforts to free these beings.  The creatures are hideous, alien monstrosities, apparently possessing “eight major arm-like appendages protruding from an elliptical body, six of which were tipped with flipper-like protrusions, the other two being tentacular.  Four of the web-tipped legs were located at the lower end of the body…[t]he other two near the head….In place of eyes, there was an abominable sponge-like circular organ…over it grew something hideously like a spider’s web.  Below this was a mouth-like slit…bordered at each side by a tentacle-like appendage….”  Chesterton makes clear that he views the creatures’ threat to mankind as an existential one: they are parthenogenic, he claims, and if even one is allowed to escape it will be capable of spawning many more of its race, eventually eclipsing humanity and taking over the Earth.

The story culminates on the night of September 2, 1931.  Chesterton is aided by three young men armed with rifles — they are little more than passers-by who volunteer to help — in stopping Phipps from opening the seal and freeing the alien city’s inhabitants.  I am struck by the mundane means by which a variety of mortal Mythos protagonists have been able to defeat powerful alien entities: just as Campbell’s earlier narrator used a few cans of gasoline to thwart Byatis, and even mighty Cthulhu was temporarily damaged when he was rammed by a ship in “The Call of Cthulhu,” here we see a handful of young doughty young men who obviously have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into saving the day with rifle fire accompanying Chesterton’s incantation.[7]  This final confrontation is also interesting because Phipps believes that his foes are actively in league with the Elder Gods when they confront him, saying: “So…this is the total of the strength which can be mustered by the great Elder Gods!…What do you know of the Great Old Ones — the ones who seeped down from the stars, of whom those I have released are only servitors?  You and your Celaeno Fragments[8] and your puerile star-signs — what can you guess of the realities which those half-veiled revelations hint?”

At story’s end, it is entirely unclear that the threat from the beings trapped under Clotten’s bridge is ended; indeed, there is circumstantial evidence from several strange happenings since 1931 that they still exist, awaiting a time when they might be successfully freed.

[4] Campbell also notes that he borrowed elements from HPL’s “The Shadow over Innsmouth” and Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Dweller in the Gulf.”  Ramsey Campbell, “Afterword,” in The Inhabitant of the Lake and Other Unwelcome Tenants (PS Publishing, 2011).

[5] Campbell has stated that a number of his Mythos stories were inspired by entries in H. P. Lovecraft’s “commonplace book,” an older term for a collection of ideas, quotations, letters, trivia, and the like.  These were common in bygone ages when scholars, readers, and writers sought to record ideas and information they might later want to reflect on and refer back to.  (I have such a collection of ideas and writing fragments myself – my wife uncharitably describes them as my “scribblings of a madman” – and I suspect that many writers may also.)  Lovecraft kept a commonplace book, listing 221 ideas for stories, some of which he later developed and most he did not.  He described his commonplace book thusly: “This book consists of ideas, images, & quotations hastily jotted down for possible future use in weird fiction. Very few are actually developed plots – for the most part they are merely suggestions or random impressions designed to set the memory or imagination working. Their sources are various – dreams, things read, casual incidents, idle conceptions, & so on.” [http://grimreviews.blogspot.com/2008/05/hp-lovecrafts-commonplace-book-online.html]  Bruce Sterling has also transcribed and published on Wired the contents of Lovecraft’s commonplace book, available here: http://www.wired.com/2011/07/h-p-lovecrafts-commonplace-book/  A collection of short stories based on some of these story idea fragments was published in 2010: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004APA1DW

[6] The Necronomicon is well known to all Mythos readers (indeed, mentioning it is almost de rigueur for Mythos writers) and the Book of Eibon, introduced by Clark Ashton Smith in his story “Ubbo-Sathla,” almost equally well known.  Lovecraft himself referred to various translations and editions of the Book of Eibon in several of his stories, and Smith published two of the infamous book’s chapters as the stories “The Door to Saturn” and “The Coming of the White Worm.”  Lin Carter and a number of other writers have expanded on the contents of the book, with the complete contents later collected and published by Chaosium in 2002 as The Book of Eibon, ed. Robert M. Price.

[7] When musing aloud about training his three helpers to assist him with the incantation, Chesterton mentions “Yr-Nhhngr,” which is a set of formulae referenced in “The Dunwich Horror.”  Yr and Nhhngr are later used again by Derleth in The Lurker at the Threshold, expanding on a brief scrap of text by Lovecraft, as places beyond Kadath where demonic entities dwell and Lin Carter in “The Thing Under Memphis.”

[8] An occult tome created by August Derleth and referenced in several of the stories later included in Derleth’s novel The Trail of Cthulhu.  The title is an obvious reference to the name Celaeno, used several times in Greek mythology; may be most applicable here to the star by that name in the Pleiades cluster of stars (perhaps the home of some entity who provided knowledge later recorded in The Celaeno Fragments?)

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From the Artist:

 

I grew up with comics, but not the standard Marvel/DC fare. My favorite art and stories were created by Moebius, Jodorowsky, Serpieri, Bilal, and other artists. These were more than your monthly superhero serials – these were strange, disturbing, and fantastic worlds created and crafted by some of the best artists with mind-bending and surreal stories.

I’ve tried to work with writers over the years to create graphic novels with the same feel, but other work and obligations always stall the projects. With the new age of crowd-funding I’m hoping to breathe life into some of these unfinished and unstarted projects. My friend Jeffrey Thomas has been writing incredible fiction for years. His world of Punktown has spawned numerous short stories that are prime for adapting into a series of beautifully illustrated stories. The Reflections of Ghosts is one of my favorite stories, and the first I started adapting to graphic novel form.

We would like to finish the story, and do more. When the stories are completed they will be compiled into a graphic novel published by SST publications. Our goal is to create a  book with a minimum of 50 pages. To get these pages finished there’s only one goal – reach a per-page-rate of $200. This will be enough for me to prioritize the graphic novel over other projects that will come my way.

Why Patreon? Because unlike other crowd-funding sites there is no deadline or rush to get this funded. There’s plenty of time to build interest in the project and show people what we’re doing. Patrons get an inside view of the pages as they’re created, and we can take the time to really make an awesome book.

I’d like to also let people choose which stories they would like to see in the book. By pledging for the story you want you can essentially vote for what I will adapt. I’d like to think of this as a new and exciting way of creating comics – an interactive production process where you the reader get to have some input over what we make.

To learn more and join the campaign, visit the Patreon fundraiser page.

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strange-days-a-collection-of-prose-verse-and-essaysStrange Days: A Collection of Prose, Verse, and Essays
Kevin Lucia
September 22, 2014

Reviewed by Josh Black

A bit of a mixed bag as far as easy categorization goes, Strange Days collects eight stories that didn’t fit into the framework of Kevin Lucia’s debut collection Things Slip Through (two of which are accompanied by illustrations), two poems, and twenty-two essays. The stories and poems vary in genre and quality, culled as they are from a period of six years in which Lucia honed his craft and became more comfortable writing horror in particular (as he reminisces about in the essay section). The essays cover a wide range of subjects, from genre to childhood to faith to the mechanics of writing.

After a brief forward, “Therapy” starts things off. It’s a decidedly grim and nasty little piece, as an unlucky teen undergoes a session of “behavior modification therapy” that quickly devolves into modification of an altogether more nefarious sort. Readers of Lucia’s earlier collection will recognize a certain mad doctor in this one. It’s a brutal story in the sheer physicality of it, but also in the lines of regret and sheer helplessness driving the patient’s past into his unfortunate present.

“As the Crow Flies” continues the theme of being haunted by the past, though with a much different style and tone. It’s a taut revenge tale with a supernatural edge, dealing with abuse, madness, and murder.

The noir-tinged thriller “A Soldier Returns” again brings something completely different to the table, with its looming mystery, snappy dialogue, deadpan humor, and beautiful and damaged femme fatale. It’s an unexpected departure, but it works well, and fans of the style will be pleased with its inclusion here.

“Black Dog Whispers” is a bizarre flash fiction piece, going back to the visceral nature of the first story, near-hallucinatory in the telling.

Next is “Great Old Ones”, a Lovecraftian poem that ponders fate and the dark influence that just might lurk beneath the surface of our lives and what we’ve come to consider normalcy.

“Septic Dreams” can best be described as contemporary fiction. Although there are no grotesque monsters or rending of limbs here, some very personal and real-world fears run through its subtext. It strikes a fine counterpoint to the stories that precede and follow it.

The second and final poem in the collection, “Mr. Alistair Finnegan Black”, is a darkly humorous ditty about a man who knows your hopes and fears, and isn’t about to play nicely with them.

“Breathe” rounds out the straight-up prose section. It’s another offering of contemporary fiction, and a wonderful one at that. The entirety is a conversation between a father and his daughter, thrust by loss and disconnection into a world they’re both struggling in their own way to even put words to, let alone navigate.

“Graphic eBook: The Sliding” comes next. It’s an illustrated version of the previously published “The Sliding”, in its earliest incarnation. This will be of particular interest to those who have read Things Slip Through, but it stands on its own as a very creepy and effective “evil house” tale, and the artwork adds to the immersion. The story’s genesis is described in a later essay which is even more frightening because it actually happened.

“Lost Project: Asphalt Oceans by Midnight” is the first entry in a scrapped graphic serial that might yet see the light of day. As Lucia puts it, it’s “a story of a modern-day Beowulf duty-bound by his heritage to hunt down the teeming spawn of Grendel, which hid in night shrouded corners of the world, feeding on the weak and the helpless.” It’s a fast, fun, and monster-filled story that takes place at an out-of-the-way diner, and the included concept art helps to bring it to life.

Following this is the final section, “Essays: Thoughts about horror, writing, genre fiction, and life in general”, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. The draw here is that Lucia doesn’t even attempt to provide any hard and fast rules for writing horror. This section is all about his own experiences and journeys as a burgeoning writer (and reader), and it’s written with a great deal of warmth and candor. The anecdotal essays come across as one horror fan talking to another, and they’re both inspirational and encouraging in tone. Things like voice and style are touched on, as are the doubts and fears that come with being a writer and a person in general. The fact that Lucia puts so much of himself out there is commendable, and there’s a lot for beginning writers to gain from reading what he has to say here.

Strange Days is a portrait in words of one writer at a particular time and place in his career, recalling the past, taking stock of the present, and sharing his dreams for the future. As personal as some of the material is, much of it is also universal. It’s a good choice for all horror fans, from casual readers to hardened genre veterans, but it’s writers who are just starting to familiarize themselves with the craft who will get the most out of this one. Recommended.

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after-the-people-lights-have-gone-offAfter the People Lights Have Gone Off
Stephen Graham Jones
Dark House Press
ISBN 978-1940430256
September 30, 2014; $15.95 PB, $9.01 eBook

Reviewed by Josh Black

The latest collection from the prolific and multifaceted Stephen Graham Jones contains mainly reprints, with two original stories. If you’ve never read his work, it’s a great place to jump in, especially now that the Halloween season is once again upon us. His stories tend to have a timeless quality, but the ones collected here in particular are notably fitting for the onset of the cold, dark corners of the year.

In this book you’ll read about vampires, werewolves, spirits, aliens, murderers, mad science, and zombies, among other things. It’s obvious that Jones has an abiding love for horror, as most of these stories deal with long-standing genre tropes to some extent. That said, they’re far from typical and he doesn’t settle with simply rehashing what’s come before (unless he’s deconstructing something and reforming it into his own wild configuration).

“Welcome to the Reptile House” perhaps best exemplifies this, its cyclical structure weaving around seemingly disparate parts (supernatural abilities, tattoo culture, mortuary work), making its way to a conclusion that both comes as a shock and feels perfectly natural. It would be almost a disservice to mention the particular trope at play here. Suffice to say it’s quite possibly one of the best short stories dealing with it that you’re ever likely to read.

The title story takes the haunted house concept and again brings a unique spin to an age-old theme. It’s one of the more emotionally driven pieces in the collection (a quality that Jones does well with, which is no easy task considering the clipped prose style that characterizes his writing). In this story the characters are haunted by a past accident as much as the house itself is haunted, but make no mistake – It’s truly not a place you’d want to spend the night in.

“The Dead Are Not” takes an outsider’s perspective on the ritualistic nature of funerals, and explores the possibility of other ways to say goodbye, or possibly not have to say it at all (providing, of course, you’re privy to the secret words that must be spoken). If you could circumvent the great equalizer, what would be the cost? The chilling final words of this story may seem maddening in their ambiguity, but there’s more than enough there for readers to draw their own conclusions.

If there’s anything readers are likely to take issue with here, it is that ambiguity. Just as Jones isn’t content to go the typical route as far as subjects and plotting are concerned, his stories tend to leave a lot open to individual interpretation.

As far as the reading goes, the collection is a balanced mix of deeply imaginative stories, emotional weight, out-of-the-box structure, and prose that will at times leave you breathless. Top that off with Alban Fischer’s inspired book design, the eerie yet inviting cover art by George C. Cotronis, and Luke Spooner’s subtly sinister illustrations, and After the People Lights Have Gone Off is a sure bet for the kind of book you’ll want to keep coming back to over the years. Recommended.

Categories : Horror News
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2 SSTBIRMINGHAM, UK, AUGUST 24, 2014 – Short, Scary Tales Publications (SST Publications) Owner, Paul Fry is truly honoured to announce that SST have acquired the rights to publish a graphic novel adaptation of the legendary Richard Laymon’s classic horror novel The Cellar. The novel will be adapted by motion picture screenwriter and director Eric Red and illustrated by award-winning illustrator and comic artist Daniele Serra.

SST Publisher Paul Fry says: “This is one of those dream projects that you never think will happen and when it finally does you just can’t believe it. I’ve been a massive fan of Richard Laymon’s work for many, many years. Richard’s books are what got me into reading horror in the first place, and subsequently publishing. Richard is my favourite author of all-time and The Cellar is my all-time favourite novel, so this really is my dream project. With the totally gripping and nail-biting storyline, plus the non-stop action, beautifully vivid imagery and Richard’s trademark sex and violence, The Cellar will make a perfect graphic novel! Adapting the novel is Los Angeles based screenwriter, director & author Eric Red. Eric has many years of experience screenwriting and writing comic scripts, so he will be perfect to adapt Richard’s novel. It also is a massive plus that Eric is a huge fan of Richard’s work so I know he will give his all in adapting the book into graphic novel form. The ultimate icing on the cake for me is that the incredible and original illustrator and comic artist, Daniele Serra is illustrating the book. With Dani’s very unique style and vision I know The Cellar graphic novel will be totally original and totally beautiful! To top it all off, as if that wasn’t already enough, I’m really excited and honoured to announce that we’ve got . . . wait for it, the legend that is Ed Gorman to write the introduction to the book! As I mentioned, this is my dream project, one that I’ve been wishing to do for many years, and to be able to finally do it is just beyond words. I’m so excited it’s unbelievable! I’m like a kid at Christmas! I’d like to say a massive thanks to Ann & Kelly Laymon, Daniele Serra, Eric Red and Ed Gorman for making a dream come true. And an enormous thanks to the unbelievably talented Richard Laymon for writing such incredible and unforgettable novels. You really have given me many years of literary bliss! The book will be published as a beautiful full-colour oversized hardcover and softcover, plus in digital formats. The tentative release date is the end of 2015 / beginning of 2016. More details will follow!”

About Richard Laymon: Richard Laymon’s works include more than sixty short stories and more than thirty novels, a few of which were published under the pseudonym Richard Kelly. However, despite praise from prominent writers from within the genre, including Stephen King and Dean Koontz, Laymon was little known in his homeland—he enjoyed greater success in Europe, though, particularly in the United Kingdom—until his affiliation with Leisure Books in 1999. The author largely viewed much of this as a product of the poorly re-edited and reconstructed first release of The Woods Are Dark, which had over 50 pages removed. The poor editing and unattractive cover art ruined his sales records after the success of The Cellar. The original and intended version of The Woods Are Dark was finally published in July of 2008 by Leisure Books and Cemetery Dance Publications after being reconstructed from the original manuscript by his daughter, Kelly.

His novel Flesh was named Best Horror Novel of 1988 by Science Fiction Chronicle, and both Flesh and Funland were nominated for the Bram Stoker Award, as was his non-fiction work A Writer’s Tale. He won this award posthumously in 2001 for The Traveling Vampire Show. His win was used as an answer for a question on the syndicated Jeopardy program.

The tribute anthology In Laymon’s Terms was released by Cemetery Dance Publications during the summer of 2011. It featured short stories and non-fiction tribute essays by authors such as Bentley Little, Jack Ketchum, Gary Brandner, Edward Lee, and scores of others.

About Eric Red: Eric Red is a Los Angeles based motion picture screenwriter, director and author. His original scripts include The Hitcher for Tri Star, Near Dark for DeLaurentiis Entertainment Group, Blue Steel for MGM and the western The Last Outlaw for HBO. He directed and wrote the crime film Cohen and Tate for Hemdale, Body Parts for Paramount, Undertow for Showtime, Bad Moon for Warner Bros. and the ghost story 100 Feet for Grand Illusions Entertainment. Mr. Red’s first novel, a dark coming-of-age tale about teenagers called Dont Stand So Close, is available from SST Publications. His second and third novels, a werewolf western called The Guns of Santa Sangre and a science fiction monster novel called It Waits Below, are available from Samhain Publishing. His fourth novel, a serial killer thriller called White Knuckle, will be published by Samhain in 2015. A collection of eighteen of his horror short stories titled Toll Road will be published by SST Publications in 2015. His recent published horror and suspense short stories include “Colorblind” in Cemetery Dance magazine, the western horror tale “The Buzzard” in Weird Tales magazine, “Pack Rat” in Beware the Dark magazine, “Little Nasties” in Shroud magazine, “In the Mix” in Dark Delicacies III: Haunted anthology, “Past Due” in Mulholland Books’ Popcorn Fiction, and “Do Not Disturb” in Dark Discoveries magazine. He created and wrote the sci-fi/horror comic series and graphic novel Containment for IDW Publishing and the horror western comic series Wild Work published by Antarctic Press. Mr. Red’s website is: www.ericred.com.

About Daniele Serra: Daniele Serra was born and lives in Italy.

He works as an illustrator and comic artist. His work has been published in Europe, Australia, United States and Japan.

He has worked for DC Comics, Image Comics, Cemetery Dance, Weird Tales magazine, PS Publishing and other publications.

He’s a winner of the British Fantasy Award.

Find him at www.multigrade.it

About Ed Gorman: “Ed Gorman has the same infallible readability as writers like Lawrence Block, Max Allan Collins, Donald E. Westlake, Ed McBain, and John D. MacDonald.” Jon Breen, Ellery Queen

Kirkus called Ed Gorman “One of the most original crime writers around.”

Gorman’s novels The Poker Club and The Haunted have both been filmed. Author of more than thirty novels and ten collections of short stories, The Oxford Book of Short Stories noted that his work “provides fresh ideas, characters and approaches.”

The Rocky Mountain News called him “The modern master of the lean and mean thriller.” Gorman’s thrillers include Blood Moon and The Marilyn Tapes both available as part of the Top Suspense Group (TSG).

His novel Cage of Night, also available on TSG, is one of Gorman’s personal favorites. The sites Gravetapping and Goodreads noted “It is truly a classic of the macabre—part mystery, part suspense, and entirely chilling and haunting.”

About the Publisher: SST Publications (Short, Scary Tales Publications) is an independent publisher of all things dark. They have published several books; their first title, Cold Storage included an introduction by legendary author Graham Masterton. Their most recent books include the erotic horror anthology Peep Show, Volume 2 and the debut dark thriller novel Don’t Stand So Close by motion picture screenwriter and director Eric Red. They also published the classic erotic horror magazine Peep Show, and have recently launched their new horror fiction & dark art magazine Beware the Dark, which is a unique size (7.44 x 9.69 in), full-color interior, high-quality produced mag of between 100-130 pages bringing you the best dark and disturbing fiction and artwork. SST publish their titles in multiple formats which are distributed worldwide by Ingram, the world’s largest book distributor.

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