We have some exciting news from one of the busiest editors in the business, the inimitable Stephen Jones, about an exciting new collaboration between him and the gang here at PS Towers. So take it away Steve . . .

PS Publishing presentsTowards the end of 2021, during one of our semi-regular phone conversations, Peter Crowther generously offered me a new, ongoing editing project with PS Publishing in the wake of my wish to finally bring our successful BEST NEW HORROR series to an end.

Although I thanked him for his kind offer, I explained to Pete that the combination of my advanced years and desire to slow down a bit more these days meant that I would prefer, instead, to concentrate just on those books that I really wanted to do.

But then I started thinking . . .

I have been involved in a number of publishing schemes over the years—not least, my own mainstream genre imprint, Raven Books, in the early 1990s—and there was always something that attracted me to the “branding” concept. It was while I was taking a short break on the Portuguese island of Madeira, off the northwest coast of Africa, earlier this year that an idea finally coalesced in my mind one morning while I was taking a shower.

I finally understood that I had already been doing a series of books for PS Publishing over the past couple of decades—but we just hadn’t realised it! So, upon my return, I pitched the idea to Pete, Nicky and Mike and, after some brief discussions, they enthusiastically embraced it.

And so Stephen Jones’ Masters of Horror Series was born!

I’m delighted to announce that the first title to carry the new masthead (created in collaboration with my design partner Michael Marshall Smith) is NEW SUPERNATURAL STORIES by Lionel and Patricia Fanthorpe, which we will be launching at ChillerCon UK next weekend, being held in the seaside resort of Scarborough on the wild North Yorkshire coast.

I have known Lionel Fanthorpe (described as “The world’s most prolific writer in the genre” by The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction) for more than thirty years, and it was while corresponding with him last year about something else that I suggested the idea that we do a book together along the same lines as DEAD TROUBLE & OTHER GHOST STORIES, which I had done with Aidan Chambers for PS back in 2020.

Lionel and his long-time collaborator and wife Patricia were very open to the idea of working on such a collection but, instead of the “Best of” selection that I had initially proposed, they wanted to do a book of original stories. How could I possibly turn down a book of new material by one of the last surviving British pulp paperback authors of the 1950s and ’60s? Obviously, I couldn’t, and so we began working on the idea of a collection of stories very much in the theme and style of those that Lionel and Patricia had churned out for the legendary Badger Books all those years ago.

Randy Broecker—who had also worked on Aidan’s volume with me—quickly signed-on to the project as illustrator, and over the next year we put together NEW SUPERNATURAL STORIES—a tribute to that classic Badger series of anthologies that ran for more than 100 volumes between 1954 and 1967, and contained some of the most outlandish horror fiction ever published in the UK.

Containing fifteen brand-new stories—with titles like ‘The Trail of the Werebeast’, ‘The Terror Below the Sea’, ‘The Poltergeist Peril’, ‘The Way of the Warlock’ and ‘Below the Coffin Lid’—all written by Lionel and Patricia in the inimitable Badger Books-style, NEW SUPERNATURAL STORIES also contains an extensive historical Foreword by me, an original Introduction by the authors, and an interview with Lionel by paperback expert Justin Marriott. Randy Brocker has also not only illustrated every story in the book with one of his incredibly detailed full-page artworks, but also contributed numerous heading and filler illustrations to create a fully-realised picture-book homage to those classic pulp-paperbacks of old!

Here’s just a teaser of what to expect:

            Tristan and Jennifer Carey had retired to a beautiful historic cottage on the outskirts of Brodinnick. Their nearest neighbours were two hundred metres away, and they loved the quiet life of the beautiful Cornish countryside.

            It was well after midnight when their door was forced off its hinges and the thing made its way inside. Despite being in his late seventies, Tristan fought with all his remaining strength to protect the wife he had loved for more than half a century. However, the thing that had proved too strong for a powerful martial arts expert like Lowen Gryffyn tore the gallant old man to pieces and began to devour him.

            Jennifer became hysterical as she tried to defend the man she had loved so much for so long. Again and again, she struck at the monstrous thing with the walking stick that always stood propped beside her bed, but it had no effect.

            Then the monster threw Tristan’s body aside and attacked Jennifer. She screamed in agony and collapsed to the floor, only half-conscious.

We had hoped that Lionel and Patricia Fanthorpe would be joining us for the launch of the trade paperback edition of NEW SUPERNATURAL STORIES at ChillerCon UK next weekend—they certainly wanted to be there, but with the various changes in the event dates due to COVID restrictions, they are now unfortunately unable to attend. However, I will be at the convention all weekend and will be signing the book at the PS launch event on Friday evening. So do please come along, have a chat, and get your copy autographed. And for those who want copies additionally signed by Lionel, Patricia and Randy, then we will also be issuing a 100-copy slipcased hardcover edition with alternate cover artwork. As usual, see the PS website for pre-order information.

But wait—as they say in the infomercials—that’s not all! The next book to carry the Stephen Jones’ Masters of Horror Series banner will be the eagerly-awaited updated and revised trade paperback edition of R. Chetwynd-Hayes’ centenary celebration collection, GASLIGHT, GHOSTS & GHOULS, which should be with us any day now, along with forthcoming reprints of several volumes by and about Basil Copper, which will also feature the new appellation. Meanwhile, looking even further ahead into next year, we will not only be bringing out a new collection of horror stories by one of America’s most esteemed writers of science fiction, but also celebrating two landmark anniversaries in horror literature and movies with a couple of remarkable projects, about which we will be revealing more in future Newsletters.

What was that I said to Pete about slowing down a bit now . . .?

Anyway, while I still have strength in my fingers to sign, I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in Scarborough next weekend. Don’t be shy—come over and say hello, ask me any questions you want, and buy as many books as your luggage will hold. Don’t worry—I don’t bite . . . Much.

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