Showing posts from April, 2015

Back Issues!

I've been rummaging through boxes of things (as one does) and found a few spare copies of issues of ST that are not available in print-on-demand format. If you want to contact me and simply ask for a copy of any of these, I'll send it, then you can send me the postage plus whatever you think is fair payment. They're not all in brilliant nick. So, here are the facts... I have half a dozen copies of this issue, which contains stories by Simon Strantzas, Mark Patrick Lynch, Gary McMahon, John L, Probert, Duncan Barford, Gary Fry, William I.I. Read, John Travis, and Michael Chislett. Cover art by Dallas Goffin. Edited Post I did have some other issues, but somebody's already bagged 'em. Such is the speed of the internet.

Vote, vote, vote!

... by which I mean, of course, that you should use your vote to endorse the best story in a recent issue of ST. (And it doesn't matter if you've read the print version or the e-version, the poll is open to all readers.) 'Yes, definitely an amusing supernatural phenomenon. Best make a note of that.' So far I've not received many votes about ST#28, the last winter issue. I will be announcing the winner of that poll in ST#30, so if you'd like to give your opinion of which is the best story just bung a vote in the comments here.  Or you could email me. ST is also on Facebook, so you really have many opportunities to have your say. No, when I said 'put your cross in the box...' By the same token, ST#29 is out now - if you read it and think 'Ooh, that one was good!' why not tell me? If you don't, I'll never know, and your opinion counts. Democracy - it's arguably better than rule by busty vampires Remember, the winne

Old Joke Corner


The Ghosts & Scholars Book of Shadows Volume Three!

In the latest G&S newsletter , Ro Pardoe announces a third opportunity for you to craft a story based around one of the classic tales of M.R. James. I'm pleased to be able to reproduce Ro's announcement in full, as she's much better at the detailed stuff than I am. So take it away Ro... I'm very pleased to say that The Ghosts & Scholars Book of Shadows Volume Two has proved to be just as successful as Volume One, and it was already out of print by the beginning of December. So Sarob's Robert Morgan and I have agreed to go ahead with a third volume to complete the sequence and include prequels and sequels to some (hopefully all) of those M.R. James stories which were not covered in the first two collections. Admittedly it could be a problem in that there are only a limited number of MRJ stories remaining - twelve to be precise - but I think there are still plenty of possibilities (still no one has attempted to explain what was going on in "An Eveni

The Sea of Blood

Reggie Oliver's latest collection is a retrospective from US publisher Dark Renaissance Books. The Sea of Blood contains Reggie's 'greatest hits' from his many earlier volumes, plus some new stories. Needless to say it's a substantial volume, and as it just landed on my humble doormat with a major thud this very morning I will need a while to craft a review. But I'm going to go out on a limb and say it looks good. DRB are a new outfit to me, and judging by this volume they are serious players. Oh, and I was pleased to see that this collection kicks off with 'Beside the Shrill Sea', which first appeared in ST4 a long, long time ago.

Mysterious Crate News!

Best steer well clear of this one... Well, not really news, as it's from the spoof site The Onion . But having said that, it captures the essence of Victorian Gothic rather wonderfully, complete with the ominous headline Mysterious Crate Arrives From London. Shipman and stevedore alike confirmed that the crate is unpleasantly cold to the touch, and none reportedly wished to remain in its presence for long.  According to entries in the captain's log, when the puzzling cargo was first brought aboard in Liverpool, the ship's cat would not cease in its hissing and hid amongst the ballast the journey entire; and indeed, all aboard the Redoubtable were, to a man-jack, loathe to pass near the crate.

Selling a rare-ish book

Not sure how rare it is, really, but I need to free up some shelf space. Anyway, if you're interested I've offered a book for auction on eBay . This is one of 200 numbered copies, published in 1995. It was one of the first Tartarus Press publications. It's a very nice volume in very good condition i.e. I have not spilled anything on it or otherwise damaged it over the years. I cannot, of course, speak for the condition of its soul...

Jamesian Movie Posters!

If only these movies had been made... I like these posters. They appeared on a Facebook page dedicated to M.R. James. They are the work of a very talented artist called Alan Brown, who has a page here . Unfortunately, the actual posters were part of a project based on MRJ's work, and the resulting book is now sold out. 

Codex Jermyn - the Cardinal Goes Ape!

I hope you'll excuse a post that isn't, strictly speaking, about the supernatural but is about the weird. Cardinal Cox's latest poetry pamphlet is inspired by one of my favourite H.P. Lovecraft stories - 'Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family'. The central premise of the Lovecraft story is that there is no clear line between ourselves and our ape-cousins, and that interbreeding is possible. (Well, that's my reading of it, anyway.) In his new pamphlet Cox takes this idea and runs with it, creating a series of poetic mini-sagas featuring many of the most fascinating (and hirsute) characters from English literature. The over-arching theme is that Homo erectus, an ancestral species, never really died out, just retreated to the mountains and wildernesses of the Earth. And there they lurk, emerging now and again to become the stuff of legend...

Nunkie's Coming to Newcastle!

Robert Lloyd Parry's excellent Nunkie Theatre Company will be on Tyneside next week for not one but two public readings of classic ghostly tales! The first is a reading of J. Sheridan Le Fanu's 'The Familiar' at The Union Rooms , just by Newcastle Central Station, on the evening of Wednesday, 22nd April. This is taking place in one of pub's side rooms - just turn up shortly before 8pm for the reading, which will take about 45 mins. It's all very informal, but it would help RLP is you let him know you're coming, as that will determine just how big a Union Room they actually need! Contact details for Nunkie are here . No charge, but a hat will be passed for donations. On Thursday 23rd April, which is World Book Night, the main event is taking place at Newcastle City Library. RLP will be performing 'Casting the Runes' and 'The Residence at Whitminster'. This is a free event, but obviously places are limited. Booking and performance details

The Ghost Story Awards - Reminder

Yes, next year there will be another set of Ghost Story Awards - one for best short story, one for best anthology or collection. Mark Valentine, who's running the awards on behalf of a sinister cabal that includes yours truly, has come up with the excellent idea of providing a quarterly aide-memoire , so that readers can make note of what they have (and haven't) read during the course of the year. This might make it a bit easier to reach a decision, and with luck it will boost the number of voters. So, here is the first of the lists - these are not official nominees, just memory joggers. (The Helen referred to below belongs to A Ghostly Company , as indeed do I). THE GHOST STORY AWARDS 2015 – AIDE-MEMOIRE JANUARY TO MARCH 2015 Introduction Helen Kemp suggested that it would be helpful to have a checklist of ghost story publications during the year, to assist readers planning to vote in The Ghost Story Awards. It might also be of interest for anyone who wants to know

Supernatural Tales 29 - Spring 2015

The latest issue is now available to purchase in hard copy form here . I'll have news of ebooks in due course. If you're a subscriber, your copy is either on the way or soon will be. What's in it? Tales of love and hate, fear and hope, folklore and mystery, magic and ghosts, not in that particular order. Settings range from suburban England to Japan, characters range from feisty waitresses to solitary bibliophiles, and ghosts (or ghostly things) are seldom far away. 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' She drew nearer, like a l

The Eeriness of the English Countryside

An article on the Guardian's site explores just about everything you could describe as folk horror, focuses on several key writers of supernatural fiction, and ranges far further afield than the title might lead you to believe. For instance: This would appear to be a pregnant royal looking a corpse - possibly that of a recalcitrant footman who forgot to record Downton for Kate and was accordingly bludgeoned to death under an obscure statute of Edward III. But in fact it's this: In 2011, also inspired by Blackwood, Millar created a sculpture entitled Self-Portrait of a Drowned Man (The Willows) . He cast his own body in silicone, dressed it in his own clothes, then gouged “his” face and skull with odd puncture wounds, as occurs in Blackwood’s novella. The disconcertingly lifelike (deathlike) “drowned man” that resulted was displayed prone on the gallery floor. It was first shown at Glasgow’s CCA, and proved so unnerving to audiences that warnings had to be issued. It is