Saturday, 28 March 2015

Perchance to Dream

Charles Beaumont deserves to be better known. He was one of the writers (along with Robert Bloch and Richard Matheson) who contributed some great horror/fantasy episodes to The Twilight Zone. Unlike his co-writers, though, Beaumont died relatively young, in 1967. A few years later Matheson and Bloch both enjoyed TV success.

If Beaumont had lived he might have given us some wonderful movies and TV shows. Like Matheson, he might have produced much of his best work in his middle and later years. As it was Beaumont suffered a slow, painful, and mysterious decline due to a disease that aged him rapidly. He died at 38 but according to his son he looked 98. Towards the end his writer friends stepped in to meet deadlines for him, He insisted on splitting the fees.

I have to confess a special affection for Beaumont because he scripted one of the best bad sf movies. Queen of Outer Space, featuring a young Zsa Zsa Gabor. While director Ben Hecht wanted a straight space movie, Beaumont transformed Hecht's dumb story into an affectionate parody of the genre that's still fun to watch.

Perchance to Dream

Now Penguin Classics have brought out a collection of Beaumont's tales. I think that's rather wonderful, as a few years ago the only way you could get them was in the form of old, tatty paperbacks - or at least what was my experience. The cover's cool, too.

Oh, and the title story? One of my all-time favourite TZ episodes, about a man who seeks help because he is terrified of falling asleep. Who could forget Maya the Cat Girl (Suzanne Lloyd), or the twist ending? I really must watch the Twilight Zone again, it's good for morale.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Trailer Time!

This your humble editor reading a story from the forthcoming issue of ST, due out in April. As you can see if you click on the clicky thing, it is by Rosalie Parker and entitled 'Selkie - a Scottish Idyll'. The title is somewhat deceptive, as old hands at this game may have guessed. I love stories with a strong folklore element, and this is a cracking example of how to made modern 'quiet horror' from traditional elements.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

'The Familiar' in Newcastle

On 22nd April the redoubtable Rob Lloyd Parry will be giving a reading of J. Sheridan Le Fanu's classic tale, 'The Familiar', at a pub in Newcastle. 

According to Rob: 
It'll be a very informal rehearsed reading - just me at a lectern - not like the M R James shows you've seen. Could you spread the word among local supernatural/literature enthusiasts, who might be interested in this kind of thing? And ask anyone who might want to come along to email me for details and to get on the guest list?

The reading will be free but a hat will be passed at the end. If you'd like to get on the guest list for this special supernatural occasion, email Rob at:

The Glyphs Gets an Actual Amazon Review!

'Excellent, well-written stories that are disturbing and unnerving rather than full-on horror.
If you want something gourmet rather than fast-food, these are for you.'

Well, who can argue with that? There will now be a pause...

Anyway, my collection of ghost/horror/weird stories is out there and people are actually reading it, apparently. It's at Amazon (US) here, and Amazon (UK) here

It's inexpensive. Please let that influence you.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Supernatural Tales 29 - contents

Supernatural Tales 29

Then her other hand was upon me, clutching my other arm. She drew nearer, like a lover searching for a kiss.

Jeremy Schliewe: 'Distance' 

'The unearthly wailing woke him again. He lit the lamp and went outside. At once the keening stopped, the shadowy rocks mute and unmoving.'

Rosalie Parker: 'Selkie - A Scottish Idyll'

She prodded the fish with her fork, and that was when the weirdness started. Because the fish started moving on the plate, as if it was still alive.

Jane Read: 'Service Charge'

When he received the book in the mail, Klenz had no memory of ever having ordered it.

C.M. Muller: 'Dissolution'

Despite not being able to see further than a few feet in front of him, he attempted to push through. The further he pushed through the more the fog seemed to coalesce into something impenetrable.

James Machin: 'An Oubliette'

“Yes, I must have stepped on something. A nail or a piece of glass. I do tend to go out in my bare feet.”

Katherine Haynes: 'Just a Snuff at Twilight'

The breathing seemed to be a man’s: even, not unnaturally loud, undramatic. It wasn’t the gasping of someone dying, as he had first feared. He wasn’t, he felt, hearing a recording of murder or terminal illness.

Sam Dawson: 'Cul-de-sac'