Friday, 20 February 2015

We Are The Martians!

Well I personally may not be a Martian (though I sometimes wonder), but here we have the contents of a new book about Nigel Kneale. 

I'm a huge admirer of NK's work, which spans the horror, sci-fi and thriller genres. He inadvertently launched Hammer Horror thanks to the film adaptations of his Quatermass TV serials. He was a superb short story writer, and his only collection -Tomato Cain - is well worth seeking out (but deserves a cheap paperback reprint IMO). His one-off play The Year of the Sex Olympics accurately foretold the coming of reality TV. The Stone Tape is a classic ghost story with an sf rationale. His series Beasts is a masterpiece of low-budget imaginative fiction. He wrote about aliens, yetis, monsters (some in human form), ghosts, and just about anything else that you can imagine. 

And now here comes a book that looks at all this and more! Among the contributors are two stars of contemporary horror who have graced the pages of ST - Lynda E. Rucker, who grew up in America, wishes she'd encountered Kneale's work when she was a girl. Gary McMahon writes about the film The Abominable Snowman, which is worth seeking out for both its intelligence and genuine eeriness. All in all, it's a star cast of contributors, among them being Ramsey Campbell, Stephen Volk, Mark Gatiss, Jeremy Dyson, David Sutton, Stephen Laws, and - as they say - many others.

All credit to Spectral Press for celebrating the work of one of Britain's greatest sf and horror writers. Here's a preview of the possible cover.

"We are the Martians: the Legacy of Nigel Kneale" edited by Neil Snowdon. Artwork ©2014 David Chatton Barker


Anonymous said...

There is something about Nigel Kneale that greatly appeals to me. In a time when the counter-culture, technology, and materialism were making great strides, one man challenged these institutions and convinced everyone that the old ways were not gone, that, in spite of the numerous churches and cathedrals erected on the land, Britain's ancient pagan past is not dead and is, in fact, as powerful, and deadly, as ever. The QUATERMASS stories, in particular, are dear to me in their combination of contemporary issues and themes with timeless supernaturalism. That was Kneale's genius -- blending the evanescent with the eternal.

valdemar said...

I agree. In THE STONE TAPE Kneale has a clergyman describe pollution as the only way evil can manifest itself in a materialistic age. He was remarkable for his ability to blend new and old ideas, especially in QUATERMASS AND THE PIT, with its combination of demons and aliens, and the strenuous refusal of people to accept frightening truths about their world and themselves.