Friday, 30 September 2011

Curfew and Other Eerie Tales

Swan River Press in Dublin has just published this very elegant volume of stories by Lucy M. Boston, who is best known for her Green Knowe children's books. Boston's work has rather passed me by, but as Robert Lloyd Parry explains in his introduction this is partly because she published few ghost stories. I noted with great interest that, as well as unpublished tales, this volume includes a play - a Jacobean drama of witch-hunting entitled 'The Horned Man' (no relation). You can mosey on over to Swan River and order a copy. You might also care to purchase a CD of Mr Parry reading 'Curfew' and 'The Tiger Skin Rug'. It can be ordered from Nunkie Productions, along with many other interesting things. Now I must settle down to read the rest of the stories, and that intriguing play...

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

A Bracelet of Bright Hair

Sarob Press is about to publish a volume of stories by Jane Jakeman. Two of the stories in A Bracelet of Bright Hair - 'Vrykolakas' and 'Adoptagrave' - first appeared in ST. If the others are of the same standard, and I'm sure they are, this will be another winner from Sarob. Find out more here. But if you can't be bothered to click, here's a cut-and-paste description:

Jane Jakeman: A Bracelet of Bright Hair

Eight dark, terror-filled ghostly stories, perfect for the long winter nights to come … someJamesian, some not – all pleasingly traditional. You'll want to sleep with the lights on. If you can sleep … The title is a quotation from “The Relic” by John Donne.
Jane Jakeman is the author of Death in the South of FranceDeath at Versailles and the Lord Ambrose Malfine historical crime novels. She lives in Oxford where some of the stories in A Bracelet of Bright Hair are set.
Jane's ghostly fiction has been previously published in Ghosts & ScholarsAll Hallows &Supernatural Tales. This is her first collection of ghost/supernatural stories.
Stories: “Vrykolakas” “Lock Me Out!” “Neon” “River” “Survival of the Fittest” “The Edge of the Knife” “The House with No History” and “Adoptagrave”.
Afterword by Jane Jakeman. Illustrations by Paul Lowe.
Limited Edition Hardcover. Printed Boards. Edition limited to 150 numbered copies.
Limitation will be reviewed if pre-publication interest suggests a larger print run is appropriate.

PRICE
UK: UK £22-50    Europe: 27-50 euros    USA & Rest of World: US $39-50

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Ice Age

Ice Age

I've just reviewed Iain Rowan's new Kindle eBook on Amazon, and thought I'd share it here. Iain's story 'The Walker on the Wall' appeared in ST7 and a new story of his will feature in ST21. In the meantime, you could try this excellent collection and give a boost to an author who deserves to be better known. Here's the review:

Iain Rowan is a rising star of what's loosely termed the horror genre, though perhaps 'chiller' would be a more apt term for the stories in this remarkable collection. The collection is arguably linked by a common theme of loss and isolation - Rowan's protagonists are usually lost in some way; to society, to loved ones, to hope, to themselves. 
Thus in the first story, 'Lilies', the protagonists is a solder in a nameless city riven by what may be civil war. It rapidly emerges that the conflict is at least in part about conflicting attitudes to the dead, who in this world can come back to us - but only for a while. A similar war-torn cityscape, suggestive of the break up of Yugoslavia, features in 'Here Comes the New Way', with its bizarre religious cult, and 'Sighted', a tale of a sniper among ghosts. Altogether closer to home (which for Rowan is northern England) 'The Call' focuses tightly on a man wounded by bereavement who moves to the coast to try and forget his wife and child. On a headland path he meets an odd-job man who talks of the call of the sea. Descriptive passages of the fog-bound shore are as good as anything in the traditional English ghost story, but the conclusion is altogether more modern and ambiguous. 
Different again is 'Through the Window', a simple cautionary tale of a man who wonders about a woman who seems to be trapped in a derelict house. 'Driving in circles' has a nice, Twilight Zone feel, with a bickering couple realising that they have driven too far off the beaten track. A darker mood pervades 'The Circular Path', in which a man decides to investigate a childhood trauma and solves a mystery - unfortunately. 
But it's the title story - the last in the book - which stands out as a superbly-crafted tale on the borderlands of social realism. A man's conviction that a new ice age is coming is a powerful metaphor for the bleakness of a disintegrating life. The character's name is Coppard, a reference to one of the unjustly neglected masters of the English short story. I hope Iain Rowan gets the recognition that is his due. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

ST20 Cover and Contents


The new page has just gone up - this is it, basically.

Out soon (as in, early October), this latest issue contains 99 pages, most of them filled with stories by:

Daniel Mills
Andrew Kolarik
Brian Day
Katherine Haynes
Philbampus
Michael Chislett

Fans of Mike Chislett's work might like to know that his story, 'The Friends of Faustina', features two familiar characters getting involved - yet again - with naughty beings of the feminine persuasion.

Cover: 'Breach' by Stephen J. Clark

Supernatural Tales 20

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Leslie Nielsen and M.R. James

I'm working on ST20 and - with a bit of luck - should be mailing out copies at the end of the month-ish. Certainly be with subscribers in time for Hallowe'en, which is my cunning plan.

Meanwhile, wouldn't you like to see an early TV adaptation of 'The Tractate Middoth' starring Leslie Nielsen? Of course you would. It's just over 20 mins long and should, I feel, be watched in a darkened room at twilight. But each to his or her own...