Showing posts from June, 2010

Praise for Peter

Peter Bell's story 'The Tunnel' is one of the most popular ever published. It's in ST17, if you haven't already bought a copy. Here's one fulsome reaction from a reader: Not only does ST 17 look great-it is great,opening with a wonderful ghost story in the grand tradition.The Tunnel has a lot going for it-multiple layers of narrative,an expert in esoterica( in this case trains) and some sly humor( Thelma Kemp's crack about Roman Catholics).But to really make it tasty, Peter Bell has added a generous dollop of the class struggle.The animus between urban evacuees and their country hosts during the Blitz becomes the focal point of this story.Lady Wyke's treatment of the Wood children would be called child abuse today.All in all, a rich , wonderful story.

Zombie Women of Satan(?)

It's always nice when you read in your local paper that some enthusiasts are making a genuine horror movie in your neck of the woods. So I was intrigued when I read last year - or was it the year before? - that something was going on County Durham. Now comes the review in SFX . It begins thusly: 'Al-Qaeda should use this horror comedy as a recruiting tool - watching it, the notion that Western society deserves annihilation briefly seems reasonable. You slide through disbelief, boredom and anger into a despair so crushing it's akin to grief.' If you'd like to know which movie prompted this somewhat negative reaction, the official website is here . If you want to see some of that local media coverage, a report from Cannes (no less) is here .

The Hollywood Eye

Earlier on I expressed my approval of the Hong Kong movie The Eye . I just rented the DVD of the Hollywood remake and thought I'd share my 'thoughts' about it. Firstly, why take a movie made in Chinese and redo it as a fairly standard Hollywood shocker? Because millions of people out there can't handle subtitles, I suppose. In this regard I'm lucky. When I was a wee lad BBC 2 used to show lots of foreign films and I got used to reading the often enlightening phrases appearing along the bottom of the screen. I saw - as a child/teenager - some of the classics of European cinema. The Royal Hunt of the Sun , Jules et Jim , Alphaville - all grist to my mill. If you grow up with something it's a bit less threatening. Anyway, they remade The Eye with Jessica Alba in the title role of Sydney Wells. Good choice. Alba is pretty, petite and does the worried frown, bafflement and fear expressions well. To be honest, she's not required to a lot else, because this is

Thanks, Brian!

So, there are now two little PayPal button thingies over on the right. This means you can click your way to poverty amid the global recession much more efficiently, and subscribe to ST. I'm sure it's a great leap forward. And it's all thanks to a nice chap called Brian J. Showers, who knows how to do techie things that I can't. In return for such a favour, all I can do is urge the reader to pop over to Brian's site, The Swan River Press , and buy everything at least once.


What links the brazen, mechanical head of Roger Bacon, a war waged throughout time, bustles, and the Mummy? The answer - and it's so obvious I'm really surprised you didn't get this - is that they are all to be found in Cognition , a new pamphlet from Cardinal Cox. The Peterborough poet has produced some poems for The  Asylum , which is apparently a 'Lincoln convivial'. The theme is steampunk, which is more sci-fi than supernatural, but it's all satisfyingly strange. Cognition drew its inspiration from a Steampunk Art exhibition held at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford earlier this year. 'It also borrows from such authors as Brian Aldiss, Max Beerbohm, Lewis Carroll, William Morris and Philip Pullman.' And quite right too. Look, I'm holding it up! The first poem, 'Elias Ashmole's Casket', reveals that 'in a dark, dark cellar' someone finds a remarkable collection of wondrous things. Along with Wilmot's last p

Strange (Radio) Tales

For me, the old wireless is a good medium for weird stories because it leaves more to the imagination. TV and film spookery can fall flat because you really don't agree with the way a story has been  visualised. So I'm always searching for audio stuff, particularly old time radio stories of terror and the supernatural. If you agree, or indeed if you don't, pop over to Strange Tales on Old Time Radio. There are some familiar stories there, notably 'All Hallows' by de la Mare and Kipling's 'The Phantom Rickshaw'. There are also a lot of other stories, some of them supernatural. They've been selected by enthusiasts from a huge range of old American radio shows. Wish I'd had that sort of thing to listen to when I was a lad.

Vampires have their own religion now

Over at Temple of the Vampire, you will learn to do the following. SIX SECRETS OF EARTHLY POWER Active members are offered immediate insights and instruction into six areas of earthly power to... Develop willpower and mental strength. Get your way with people. Master self-defense secrets. Improve and protect your health. Achieve authentic financial freedom. Live beyond the usual human lifespan. And we support everything we suggest with solid evidence of its effectiveness and reliability.


ST 18

Right, despite the fact that my kitchen ceiling has fallen in, causing me some distress (but not actually hitting me), I am well on the way to having ST18 on the stocks, the launch pad, the slipway, or the thing in Star Trek that might be a space dock. Whatever it is, the magazine is very nearly on it. But what's going to be in it? Fiction: the following stories will appear, dash it all, barring last minute withdrawals. Oo-er missus.* The Demon Lover - Jane Jakeman An Englishwoman travelling alone in Eastern Europe just after WW2 encounters a community apparently unscathed by the recent conflict. Or any conflict... Bracken Row - Gemma Farrow A car-crash victim wakes up in what is not a typical NHS emergency unit. Body of Work - Sam Dawson A work of art should alive - up to a point. Foglass - Stephen J. Clark A literary detective sets out to unearth the truth about an obscure writer of supernatural fiction. The Light Wraith - Michael Chislett A worker in London&

Free Novels!

No, really. Chico Kidd, star author and all round goodly personage, is offering the first four Captain Da Silva novels free on pdf. You can get them on a CD, for £3 (or $5) for postage and packing. Get in touch with Chico via her web site here . In case you were wondering, Chico got her nickname because as a little girl she resembled a small Mexican boy.  This is totally irrelevant from a literary viewpoint, but it is a fact. Another fact is that her story 'Cats and Architecture' remains one of the best stories published in ST, for my money, and that's good going because it appeared in the first issue.

Author Info

I often find myself asking authors for 'about fifty words about themselves'. The reason I do this is a. because everyone else seems to and b. some readers seem to like it. They don't just want a read a story by Stanislaus Howitzer. They want to know something about this guy. So, appended to each tale in ST is something like this: 'Stanislaus Howitzer has worked as a whelk-wrangler in Alaska, a missile consultant for the North Korean government, and as second-unit cameraman on Poirot . His first collection, BLARGH!, will be available from Mental Books in the autumn. Of his writing he says: 'I use big crayons on cereal boxes. From that, all else follows.'' Well, something like that. I often skip the author biog stuff. Why? Well, I've often wondered. Perhaps it's because regard the creative process as a bit of a 'black box'. Stories, after all, are generated by the human brain, which may (or may not) be the most complex thing in the universe

Two Books by Helen Grant

Helen Grant, whose story ‘The Sea Change’ appeared in ST11, has burst onto the scene of what is termed young adult fiction with two remarkable novels. Both are of interest to readers of ST, I’d hazard, because – while they are technically thrillers – they combine a detective story plot with elements familiar to lovers of supernatural fiction.                 Helen’s first novel, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, was shortlisted for the prestigious Carnegie medal. It’s the story of Pia, a ten-year-old German girl with an English mother living in a small, picturesque German town. The sort of town where everyone knows everyone else, and nothing can happen without the gossip grapevine picking it up. Until, that is, girls start disappearing.                 Pia is an interesting example of child-as-sleuth, not least because the novel is really the 17-year-old Pia’s recollection of her younger self’s adventures. This clever device allows teen Pia to be a bit more worldly-wise and articulat

Lost Hearts

For reasons that No Mortal May Know, there's this thing called Storygasm . It involves prompting a writer to create a little story. The prompt has to be sufficiently clear to suggest something, but not so precise as to cripple the old creative impulse. Anyway, I went to the site and prompted 'Lost Hearts'. Anyway, the story is by Nathaniel Lee, who sounds like he should be a sailor in a Victorian poem, but probably isn't. The story is remarkably perceptive, as this actually happened to me in 1987. And again in 1996. She answered the door on the fourth ring. “I want it back,” I said. She shrugged one delicate shoulder and turned away, leaving the door ajar. I stepped inside. Racks of cages lined the hallway, full of hearts. They were limp, despondent things, gazing out at her with hopeless longing. Three more, a bit better groomed, lurked nervously on the couch. She shoved them aside and seated herself. “I don’t have it,” she said, crossing her legs. “You… how?” She s