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Showing posts from March, 2013

Dark Adventure Radio Theatre

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I'm a lifelong lover of radio drama - I think it's the ideal medium for weird fiction, more so than film or television. The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society's Dark Adventure Radio Theatre is renowned for the quality of its audio dramas, and their latest production is The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. As always the HPLHS offers not just the recording, but also a veritable arcane volume-full of extras. And here's a picture of the whole shebang. (I'm not on commission, by the way, I just like their stuff.)

Subscriptions - update

Firstly, I have added a PayPal button for online subscriptions, and that button ought to appear to the right of this post. There's a drop-down menu giving the three sub rates, depending on where you are in relation to me. If you find it unusable for some reason, please let me know! I'm not the most tech-savvy of persons. Secondly, I made a silly mistake in fixing the US & RoW price for 3 issues. I failed to take the difference in postage into account, so I've had to increase it by five dollars. Since the incorrect price was printed in ST#23 I will of course accept the lower payment from any existing subscriber . Doh! Anyway, these are the correct rates. UK 3-issue subscription £25 EU 3-issue subscription €35 US 3-issue subscription $45 Other overseas, as US.

Review of ST#23

Over at Martin Cosby's blog you will find a hearteningly positive review of the latest issue. Martin is a man after my own heart, as he's a poetry lover as well as an aficionado of the ghostly or weird tale.

ST#23 for the electronic set

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For people who find it more convenient to pack a million, frillion books into one electronic device that will definitely never be dropped down a toilet or anything, the latest issue can be  downloaded as a pdf for the princely sum of £1.79. I'm told that's inexpensive. The point is that you get the same spiffing content as purchasers of the physical magazine, but it's in the form of educated electrons.

James Everington - a new publication

ST#23 contains the excellent story 'The Second Wish' by James Everington. Anyone wishing to enjoy more of his work might like to pop over to Infinity Plus , where they'll find news of a forthcoming collection of stories. The blurby thing says: James Everington‘s Falling Over is a wonderfully gritty and compelling collection of stories that tread the fine line between crime, horror and just downright strange. “Beautifully written, evocative, masterful…what shines through these stories is the author’s love of language” (Red Adept on James’s The Other Room ).

Supernatural Tales #23 now available

If you will direct your attention to the right, you will see that the somewhat needy 'Buy Supernatural Tales' link directs you to issues 17-23. So, it's available to buy online. I'm currently engaged in a life-or-death struggle with a big box of magazines. I've started posting out contributors' copies, then it will be the overseas subscribers' turn, and finally UK readers will receive their copies in at most a couple of weeks at most. (Though I suppose Easter bank holidays may disrupt the post a bit, so please make allowances.) Anyway, I hope you enjoy the excellent stories in this issue.

RIP James Herbert

I think James Herbert's The Survivor was the first horror novel I read, and - if memory serves - it stood up as a pretty good supernatural thriller when I re-read it a few years on. When I was a teenager in the late Seventies it was de rigeur to read Herbert's books, perhaps because - as a former teacher - he was very attuned to the sort of stuff kids go for. That's not to say he wasn't a good writer for adults; the sales of those early novels speak for themselves. And, for my money, he was a much better writer than most horror authors of that era, especially when it came to plot construction and fleshing out an array of characters. Farewell, Mr Herbert, you entertained a lot of people.

The Green Book

There's a new journal in town - Dublin town. The Green Book is published by Brian Showers at Swan River Press, who describes it as offering 'Writings on Irish Gothic, Supernatural and Fantastic Literature'. The contents are non-fiction, in other words, and the line-up of essayists and reviewers in Green Book 1 is truly impressive. And, to add some degree of intellectual balance, there's a bit by me as well... Contents "Editor's Note" Brian J. Showers "Towards an Irish Gothic: Part One" Albert Power "Spirits of Another Sort: The Supernatural Theatre of Conor McPherson" David Longhorn "The Charm of Old Women's Tales: Le Fanu's Use of Oral Tradition" Jacqueline Simpson "Adventures of a Dream Child: Forrest Reid's Tom Barber Trilogy" Dan Studer "Four-Leaf Clovers" Michael Dirda "Reviews" Ciaran Foy's Citadel (Bernice M. Murphy) Derek John's The Ae

100,000 here we come

I've just noticed that this here blog has cruised past 96,000 pageviews. Views are running at over 3,000 a month, so by the end of April the 100,000 quasi-frontier will probably be crossed. Thanks to everyone who pops in now and again to see what's going on.

Review - In A Season of Dead Weather

Canadian author Mark Fuller Dillon approached me and explained that he'd published a collection of stories on Smashwords. He asked if I could recommend any way to promote the ebook. I told him that, if he sent me a copy, I would read it and - if I liked the stories - I'd put a review on my blog. So, here it is. In A Season of Dead Weather consists of seven stories, all of which might loosely be termed supernatural or weird fiction. They all skirt the ill-defined boundaries of horror, fantasy, and the thriller. They are all of a very high literary standard, too. It seems that there is a new 'Canadian wave' in the field of quiet horror, and that's a good thing. The first story, 'Lamia Dance', offers a fairly conventional beginning - a lonely medical student escapes the pressures of intense study by going to a cinema. The short feature, however, is a bizarre and disturbingly erotic fantasy that affects the protagonist so severely that he leaves before the

On the matter of subscriptions...

Some people really don't like buying things online. So I've reconsidered the whole issue of subscriptions to ST and - bearing in mind it's now being published three times a year - I've come up with the following annual rates. UK 3-issue subscription £25 EU 3-issue subscription €35 US 3-issue subscription $40 Other overseas, as US. UK cheques only, please, made out to David Longhorn. I have a PayPal account which can be accessed via the blog; otherwise I must insist on cash. See title page for address details. Please let me know what you think (assuming you have an opinion). I think it makes no sense to pay that much, but some people presumably will to avoid the curse of the intertrons!

Contents of ST#23

Not long now! Last minute mucking about with the next issue means that it is likely to be posted out in the first week of April, with a bit of luck. Here is a brief rundown of the fiction on offer: 'The Singing' - Iain Rowan A mysterious stranger who can't - or won't - speak is washed ashore on an island of fishermen and farmers. When he is taken to church, he reveals an extraordinary, wonderful, and - for some - disturbing gift. 'Ilona' - Tina Rath An East European worker is mopping floors in an NHS hospital. She is an 'illegal', on a sub-minimum wage. What could be more mundane? But behind closed doors, an ancient evil lurks... 'A Moment of Your Time' - Katherine Haynes Have you ever been waylaid by one of those people who ask you to complete a survey in the street? Or are they, in fact, people at all? 'Screech' - Gemma Farrow When a couple are expecting their first child, it's only natural for them to be possessed by

Ghosts & Scholars

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Just a mention that Ghosts & Scholar s, the regular M.R. James newsletter edited by Ro Pardoe, has begun publishing fiction on a regular basis. The latest issue, no. 23, has three stories, all of them entertaining. There's a neat vignette by Philip Thompson about Beatrix Potter that recalls 'After Dark in the Playing Fields'. Mark Valentine's contribution, 'Yogh', is a clever bit of academic spooker (and to my shame I didn't realise what it was about until near the end). And the longest story, 'Quantum of Darkness' by Chico Kidd, is a gripping account of what happened when a Word War 2 bombing raid 'liberated' something that was supposed to remain confined forever... As well as fiction the newsletter has Jamesian Notes & Queries, reviews, and other non-fiction. All in all, it's a return to the good old days of G&S, albeit in a slightly slimmer format. And the cover, by Alisdair Wood, is rather nifty.

Saki & E.F. Benson - story readings

I'm of the opinion that an effective ghost story will always sound good if read aloud. Richard Crowest (a new name to me) has a site that contains a large number of readings of stories by Saki , a great favourite of mine and of course an author who often dealt with the macabre, though he seldom tackled the supernatural. The same site also has Richard reading some of E.F. Benson's spook stories , and I think that - as with the Saki tales - he brings out the best qualities of the author's work. Benson's ghosts and demons are nowhere near as frightening as those of M.R. James, but there's no gainsaying his gift as a spinner of absorbing yarns.

Electronic Chimaera

Tina Rath, whose story 'Ilona' will appear in the next issue of ST, has a new ebook out! It's a story collection entitled A Chimaera in My Wardrobe . Long-term readers of ST will know that it carried the first few stories about the small chimaera that lives, not surprisingly, in someone's wardrobe. As well as the ST stories, the ebook has new material and completes the chimaera's own tale. So it's highly recommended! Here's the blurb (or 'Product Description') from Amazon: A collection of short fantasy stories for the 21st century, told by a gentle little monster with a penchant for happy endings. He introduces policemen, mummies, bikers, vampires, background artistes, fantasy figures like a stage-struck devil and a successful author as well as an unusual take on some fairy stories you thought you knew… ideal for commuters each section is complete in itself, but the story of the chimaera itself will carry you through to the end.  When a small

World Book Day!

World Book Day is today in the UK and Ireland to avoid clashing with Easter. For everyone else on the planet it's in April, apparently. Well, never mind. To celebrate the supernatural tale I'm going to list some of my favourite stories in the genre, and I hope you'll comment and offer a few of your own. The problem with making lists of 'the greatest ______' is, of course, that most people already know about them. Familiarity can breed contempt. But I think that, so long as people read ghost stories and the like, these stories will endure. So, here goes, in roughly chronological order...

New cover for The Ptolemaic System

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My free collection of stories, available as a pdf download , now has a cover image by the talented Oscar Solis. Thanks to Oscar for taking the time to apply his talents to the title story. The result is, I think, a bit spooky, with a dream-like feel. So, you can always download it again if you like your eBooks with added art. (Did I mention it's free?)  If you'd like to see all the eBooks I've published, consisting of several back issues of ST, go to the link above right.

Review - The Sea Change & Other Stories

As usual, I will try to avoid dishing out a bucket o' spoilers about the contents of  The Sea Change  by Helen Grant. The dust jacket illustration perfectly captures the mood of the title story. A solitary figure stands, head bowed, in a small boat. The waves are choppy, there are grey crags, and the general mood is sombre. There is nothing overtly horrific, but much is implied. And that sums up the appeal of most of the seven tales here - the horrors we do not see, but are aware of, are much more effective than those showily displayed in less subtle stories. Of the stories on offer, my favourite is 'The Sea Change'. Well, I would say that, as it first appeared in ST. I've always liked nautical spookery, especially when things are not over-explained (a serious flaw with some traditional ghost story authors, it must be said). I also like a story with clean lines, and this one is very simple. A diver becomes obsessed with what seems to be the wreck of an ancient ship

Footage, Lost and Found

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I recently watched the anthology horror film V/H/S, which uses the found footage approach that burst upon us thanks to The Blair Witch Project. Suffice to say I was not best pleased to see yet another film in which a. nobody in their right mind would continue filming given the circumstances the characters end up in and b. most of the stories on offer are poor stuff indeed. But there's no denying the popularity among younger film-makers of found footage, at least in the West. (It's notable that Asian film makers are not following that route, so far as I can see.) So I've always thought it was rather ironic that Blair Witch was - essentially - a rather poor variation on a more interesting movie, and one that used a more interesting premise. The Last Broadcast (1998) is a fake documentary in which a film-maker sets out to discover what happened to a group of 'monster hunters' who went into the Pine Barrens in search of the fabled Jersey Devil. Found footage - both