Monday 20 November 2023

Ebook of latest issue now available!

 


Go here to purchase this disturbing image of Santa plus some fiction as well.

New stories by:

Helen Grant
Christopher Harman
Michael Chislett
Kelly White
Sam Dawson
Steve Duffy

Sunday 19 November 2023

NIGHTMARE ABBEY 4

 


Here comes another one! Just in time for the festive season, the fourth issue of NM creeps out into the fading twilight courtesy of editor Tom English. As before, the mag offers a mixture of new stories and reprints, plus plenty of non-fiction content. Among the latter is an interview with Paul Finch - accompanied by a reprint of an excellent story of his - and a look at Val Lewton's lost film The Bodysnatcher by John L Probert. There's also the first part of a history of horror comics by John M. Navroth.

Among the stories, Helen Grant's 'Invasive Species' is a fine example of the 'somebody goes back home to find it's changed due to weird stuff happening' subgenre. Here the protagonist returns to a small Scottish island to deal with the aftermath of her father's death, only to find that new housing developments are marring the landscape. But there's more to it than that...

Another one that grabbed me is 'The Brightest Heaven' by John L. Probert. This takes another familiar trope - the writer seeking inspiration in odd places - and plays with it very cleverly. Is there an actual muse out there, somewhere, waiting to be tracked down? And what price might be exacted by such an entity?

Steve Duffy comes through, as always, with a story that offers plenty of atmosphere and a cunning denouement. 'Truth Lies at the Bottom of a Well' sees a team from Time-Life Books on a photo shoot in the mansion of an eccentric family. An eccentric young family member offers a member of the team a private tour, of sorts. And yes, there is a well, and no the denouement is not what you might think. Or at least not quite.

A very different house features in 'Sundown in Duffield' by Steve Rasnic Tem. An old man and his adult grandson return to the family home. But what prompted the old man's father to flee the house in the first place? This a quasi-haunted house story that eschews all the usual gimmicks in favour of a slow build-up to a genuinely eerie conclusion.

'Finding the Hollow Man' by David Surface is also memorable, perhaps because I have a thing about caves and what may lurk in them. The sole survivor of a tragedy that claimed several young lives yields to a persistent researcher and tells the story of the Hollow Man. Strange things happen in the dark, but it is the final passage - written by daylight - that has the greatest impact.

Those are just a few of the stories on offer - the ones that I liked best that also qualify as supernatural tales. Nightmare Abbey has cemented its reputation as a high-quality publication that recaptures the spirit of the pulp era but with the added bonus that the quality of the writing is much higher. You can find NM on Amazon.

Saturday 18 November 2023

New Winter Issue Out Now!

Order the print issue here


New stories by: 

Helen Grant
Christopher Harman
Michael Chislett
Kelly White
Sam Dawson
Steve Duffy



Monday 6 November 2023

POSSESSIONS AND PURSUITS by John Howard and Mark Valentine (Sarob Press 2023)

 

Paul Lowe cover art, excellent as usual

Though warm my welcome everywhere,
I shift so frequently, so fast,
I cannot now say where I was 
The evening before last,

Unless some singular event
Should intervene to save the place,
A truly asinine remark,
A soul-bewitching face,

Or blessed encounter, full of joy,
Unscheduled on the Giesen Plan,
With, here, an addict of Tolkien,
There, a Charles Williams fan.
From 'On the Circuit' by W.H. Auden (About the House 1965)

Auden, the great poet of modernity and political engagement in his youth, later found solace in a more conservative (small C) and Christian worldview, which the writings of several Inklings helped him form. While the influence of Lewis and Tolkien on other writers has often been acknowledged, Charles Williams remains a somewhat shadowy figure. Fairly prolific, much admired, but seldom imitated. Too difficult in some ways, too mainstream in others, it has taken two Williams' fans and Sarob Press to produce what might be the only 21st century body of 'Williamsesque' fiction. 

Supernatural Tales 56 - contents

The next issue - due out in the autumn - will see a mixture of familiar names and some newbies. I hope, as always, that the stories find fav...