Chasm by Stephen Laws

Sneak Peek Extract: Prologue One Year Later

Jay took the street corner at sixty and struggled to control the car as it slewed up onto its front and rear left-hand side wheels. He’d seen the stunt performed by experts on television a lifetime ago, couldn’t believe that it was happening to him now . . . and yelled out loud in panic as he wrestled with the wheel. The car wobbled and swerved up onto the pavement, clipping the corner of a building and shearing away the trim in a welter of buzz-saw sparks. Jay wrenched at the wheel again to prevent the car from being flipped onto its back by the impact, and it slammed back down onto its suspension, cracking the rear window. And now the wheel was spinning madly in his hands as the car swerved all over the road, the headlights flashing over ruined and looted buildings.

He couldn’t lose control now.

Not with the Vorla somewhere behind, hurtling through the night after him. He could feel it rushing after the car, could feel his skin crawling and knew how badly it wanted to get him.

“Jesus . . . ”

A rubbish bin bounced onto the hood, disgorging crap all over the windscreen. Jay hit the wipers, cleared enough space through rotting vegetables and fruit to see that if he continued on down this street, it would take him straight to the edge of the Chasm. Pulling hard over to the right, he took the car around the corner of another burned-out building and finally got the vehicle on the straight. That’s when he saw the Vorla in his rear-view mirror, exploding around that last street corner in its hunt for him. The tyres screeched. Hearing the sound, the Vorla gushed across the street in his direction. Jay slammed his foot down hard on the accelerator and took another corner at speed. He didn’t know where the hell he was now. Could he swerve the car around, aim the headlights at the damned thing? But what then? His only hope was to put enough distance between him and it, abandon the car and try to make it on foot.

But it can smell you, Jay. It can smell the scent of your fear. It’ll just keep on following that scent.

“Fuck it!”

The car screeched past the burned-out front of a grocery store, its valuable contents long since destroyed or looted—and then Jay cried out aloud again when he saw what was in the street before him.

He slammed on the brakes.

There were two—no, three—people in the middle of the street, frozen in the headlights. They had been hurrying across in the darkness, but had frozen when they’d heard the sounds of screeching tyres getting nearer and nearer. Unsure of which way to run, waiting in terror to see if the danger would pass them by, their fear had immobilised them. One of them was holding out his or her hands in an instinctive “Stop!” gesture as the car screeched and slid, with smoke rising from its tyres. Jay wrenched the wheel hard over and the car hit the pavement hard. His hands flew from the wheel to protect his face as the car exploded through the plate-glass windows of a fashion store. Bouncing and jerking with glass exploding on the roof and past the windows. The impact winded Jay; the seatbelt constricting his chest. He coughed and gagged for air.

One of the headlights had shattered, but the other still glared into the store. Suddenly, it seemed that the car was surrounded by human figures, all frozen in grotesque poses, their angular shadows all around him.

And there was a severed human arm on the hood of the car.

No, not a real human arm. It was the arm of a shop dummy, a department-store mannequin. At last, he realised that there were mannequins all around him, some of them smashed to pieces by the car as it came through the window.

Was the arm on the hood somehow smoking?

No, the smoke wasn’t coming from the arm. It was coming from under the hood of the car. Something had ruptured there. Now smoke was rising in front of the cracked windscreen, and he could smell the petrol.

There was a blur of movement in the wing mirror and his door was suddenly yanked open—and now Jay could see the people that he had nearly run down. These were not people that he knew. These were other survivors: two men and a young woman, in rags and with a look of horror on their faces that he knew only too well. They were starved. The older man had pulled open his door while the other two clambered around to the other side of the car.

“You’re one of them, aren’t you?” snapped the older man, jabbing at him with a rusted iron railing. “One of those murdering bastards!”

“You’ve got . . . ” Jay struggled to find his voice. “You’ve got . . . to get off the street!” Wincing at the pain in his whiplashed neck, he looked fearfully back out onto the street, knowing what could not be far behind. “It’s coming after me . . . ”

“We’ve been hiding here for a year,” said the old man angrily, jabbing with the railing again. Up close, Jay could see that he wasn’t old at all. The dirt and the scarring just made him look that way. “Hiding in these ruins for a whole bloody year, while you and your kind have hunted the others down like animals. Now, we’ve got one of you, haven’t we? Let’s see how you like it, you bastard!”

“I’m not one of them,” gasped Jay, slapping out at the iron railing. “And you’ve got to get off the street. Now!

The woman had reached the passenger door. Did she believe him?

“You must have something to eat,” she gasped. “It doesn’t matter what. Anything. We’ve been hiding all this time. Please, you’ve got to . . . ”

There was a sound from the street. A rumbling murmur, like the distant thunder of an approaching storm. The Vorla was coming.

“Get out of the street!” yelled Jay, finding his breath and startling the woman. “Hide!”

“We’re sick of hiding!” yelled the younger man, suddenly yanking the passenger door open and clawing inside. Jay grabbed the shotgun lying on the passenger seat, raising it awkwardly in a one-handed grip.

“Back off!”

And then the older man lunged into the car, jabbing with the railing as the younger man tried to yank the shotgun out of his hands.

“We only want food!” screamed the woman.

Jay kicked out at the older man, tried to jam his elbow back into that blackened face as the younger man finally seized the shotgun barrel. Somewhere beyond, the young woman was screaming.

“You idiots!” yelled Jay.

His finger tightened involuntarily on the trigger. The explosive roar within the car was more than deafening. It stunned the senses of all three as the windscreen was blown out in an explosive spray of glass shards. The girl’s screaming became hysterical, but Jay was the first to recover. The younger man had recoiled in shock as, with both hands on the recovered shotgun, Jay jabbed the stock viciously into the older man’s face. He grunted and slithered away from the door as Jay scrambled quickly out of the car, kicking him out of the way. Banging the gun barrel down across the car roof, he pointed it directly at the younger man on the other side. He staggered away from the car, eyes wild, and held his hands up in surrender. The woman sobbed uncontrollably, both hands clasped to her face and hopping from shredded foot to shredded foot on the broken glass that littered the destroyed storefront. Jay stood aside as the older man pulled himself up against the side of the car. Clutching his bloodied face he lurched hand over hand around the car to join the others. Now, the smell of petrol was overpowering, making Jay gag. They began heading back into the street.

“Not that way!” hissed Jay, rubbing at his neck. He looked around at the jumble of fashion dummies lying scattered over the store carpet. Their tangled limbs made it look like some bizarre, bloodless slaughter had taken place in here. “There must be another way out of here. Follow me . . . ”

But when he turned back, his attackers had fled back into the street, out of sight.

He started after them.

And then he heard that familiar, sickening sound.

Like the sound of a crowd mumbling; or the underground rumbling of some poisonous river. The sound that was like a million whispering voices.

Moments later, the two men and their woman companion began to scream in terror and agony. High-pitched, whooping cries of torment.

Jay felt ill, as if he might vomit. Swallowing hard, he backed carefully away from the car, trying to avoid standing on glass and giving away his presence. The sounds continued, rising in agony. But the street outside was still empty. Whatever was happening was taking place just out of his range of vision, and for that he was grateful.

Something ignited under the hood of the car with a soft whump! The hood jarred open an inch and smoke began to gush into the department store. Blue fire was surging and roaring in the engine. Jay saw drops of liquid blue fire dropping to the floor beneath the car, igniting a spreading lake of burning petrol.

Frantically, he looked around for a way out and could find none.

Should he run back out onto the street and take his chance there?

Jay heard the thousand-thousand, whispering, hungry voices out there as the Vorla fed eagerly, taking its insane pleasure from the hideous torment that was being inflicted on its latest victims. The voices were still racked in agony, but somehow muted and further away—as if they had been lifted, and absorbed.

Christ, no! Not back out there!

Should he stay here in the store, take shelter, and hope that he wouldn’t be burned alive?

Flames began to leap around the car as Jay sprinted across the store, leaping over the jumbled dummies. He whirled as the flames illuminated the interior. He could feel the pounding of his heart in his chest and his throat when he saw the Exit door sign on the other side of the store. Still clutching the shotgun, he ran to it.

Please God, after everything that’s happened. Let that door be open. Let it be OPEN!

Part of him refused to believe it when that door did swing open.

Flames from behind illuminated the small alleyway beyond, his silhouette leaping gigantically ahead of him. There was only the sound of surging flame behind him now, the noises of feeding and torment drowned. He swung the door shut.

And in the same instant, the car exploded with a shuddering roar. Off to his left, a store window cascaded into the darkness around him, raining fire and a shower of broken glass.

Something beyond the store began to scream.

Something that was not human.

Jay ran down the alley as smoke began to drift behind him. There were double-gates ahead in the gloom, but he wouldn’t have to climb them. The bolts were easily withdrawn and in the next moment, he was out onto a side street and running as fast as he could.

The sounds of screaming faded behind him.

The whispering, obscene voices were gone.

But as he ran, Jay knew that the danger was far from over.

He had to find somewhere to rest, somewhere to orientate himself. Somewhere he could work out in his mind the implications of everything that had happened since the nightmare of Day One, and just what the hell he was going to do to get away from the Vorla and back to the others.

He had no idea how far he’d run, knew that he could only go so far in any one direction before he reached the brink of the Chasm again. When he saw the unbroken shop frontage of an electricals shop, and could also see that the door was open, he knew that he could run no further. The poor bastards back there had probably ended up saving his life and buying him some time. Not to mention the burning car. He staggered through the doorway, only pausing to look back to make sure that the horde of voices and the darkness was not sweeping up the street after him. There was no relief in the desolate quiet of the empty street. It could come anytime, anywhere. Without warning.

Deep inside the shop, surrounded by shelves of silent televisions, DVD recorders and music centres, Jay slumped to the floor and dropped the shotgun at his side. He sat for a long time, just getting his ragged breathing back to normal again, feeling the blood pounding in his temples and his ears. Letting it all settle down.

But the deep, icy knot of anxiety would not go away.

And then he saw the dictation machines on the shelf beside him. Leaning over, he picked one up.

Leaning over, he picked one up.

There were batteries inside, and a tape. When he looked more carefully, he could see other packets of batteries; other boxes of blank tapes.

He smiled grimly.

“Jay O’Connor,” he said in a cracked voice. He looked at the dictation machine in his hand for a long time, weighing up. “This is Your Life.”

He pressed the record button.

And began to speak.

Now Available for Pre-Order. 

Ten-Word Tragedies edited by Tim Lebbon and Christopher Golden

Let’s hand over to those two reprobates, Chris Golden and Tim Lebbon to get the full lowdown. Guys?

TIM LEBBON: When did you discover Frank Turner?

CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN: For those who don’t know him so well, this is Tim, looking for a pat on the back! You’ll get it, mate. Truth is, right around the end of 2014, I entered a fairly depressed period during which I didn’t sleep a single night without taking something to help me sleep. That went on until Halloween, 2015. Sometime around September of that year, I’d just been listening to the same old same old music for a while, and I posted online about needing recommendations for new music. I listed some of my favorite musicians, and two people who know me very well both immediately recommended I listen to Frank Turner.

The first was Matt Bechte (pictured far right with me and Frank), who has a story in TEN-WORD TRAGEDIES. The second, moments later, was you, Mr. Lebbon. Fittingly, I wouldn’t have even been led down the path to Frank if you hadn’t introduced me to Flogging Molly years ago. In November of that year, I reached out to Frank via email to sort of awkwardly tell him how much finding his music had meant to me, and that it had helped me get through a rough time. He replied a couple of hours later with an invitation to come down to Providence, RI, which is about ninety minutes from my house, to see him live with the Sleeping Souls at a small club called Fete. I brought Matt Bechtel with me and saw my first Frank show on December 16th, 2015. I’ve seen him live another six or seven times now, most recently at Lost Evenings 3 in Boston last week.

CG: So how’s about you, Tim because I know you’d been listening to Frank much longer than I have. What’s your Frank Turner story?

TIM LEBBON: Glad you took me up on that recommendation! Mine is a nice story, too. My daughter Ellie is in university now, but back when she was living at home all year round, I’d often pass her room and hear music creeping from the door (she’s a big music fan).  She’s always had quite a broad taste in music––some days it’d be Beyonce or Mumford & Sons, some days Green Day, and quite a few singers and bands I didn’t really know. One day I heard a bit of gentle piano music and a gentleman singing in a very English voice about listening to his music on a portable stereo. I stuck my head in the door and frowned.  Ellie knows me so well, so she said, “Just wait a minute, Dad.”  I’m glad I did wait.  With a “Hi ho, hi ho, hi ho . . .” Frank launched into Four Simple Words, and for me my love of his music was instant. I listen to a lot of rock and roll, but my tastes have definitely widened since my metal teens, and Frank Turner’s music really struck a chord (if you’ll forgive me).  He’s such a wordsmith that every song tells a story . . . and I think he’d actually be a great novelist. I’ve told him that, too. Who knows, maybe his first published fiction in this anthology might lead elsewhere?

TL: Do you remember the first time you heard Mittens?

CG: It was right after you and Matt recommended him to me. You know my musical tastes a bit better than Matt and said I needed to listen to Frank’s newest album (at the time), Positive Songs for Negative People, which had just come out. I love the whole damn album, from first note to last, though given my state of mind at the time it’s certain that “Get Better” will always be my favorite. Still, I loved “Mittens,” and what I loved most about it was that opening verse. As a writer, I was fascinated by Frank’s ability to paint an entire short story just in those few lines about discovering all those old postcards for sale in a New York City thrift shop. The idea that as a songwriter he would buy a box and ship it home for later inspiration stuck with me. I’d like to say the anthology was my idea, but I can’t honestly remember if it was you or me who came up with it, only that we had to do it together.

CG: You’re the one who managed to persuade Frank to send you a box of postcards to choose from for this project. I don’t remember which of us first learned the postcards were a true story, but how did you come to acquire them, and how did you select which ones you were going to send to the contributors?

TL: I remember the Skype when we came up with the idea. I think we were just talking about how great his lyrics are, and one of us quoted those lines, and the other said, “And that’s a great anthology.” I honestly can’t remember which one of us it was . . . we’ve collaborated so much that we are now, actually, one person. We’d both discovered by then that Frank is actually very approachable, and I think it was you who emailed Frank with the idea. He responded to say that it was a true story, and next thing he was shipping a big box of postcards to me (which I still have . . . I really must return them)! As for selecting postcards for contributors, I went through the box and pulled out the ones that I thought were interesting––whether it was picture, message, or sometimes just a one-word note. Then when we’d established the list, I picked three for each writer, at random, and sent them off.

As for a home for the anthology, PS felt so natural.

PS felt so natural.  I’ve known Pete for a long time (some people would probably say too long . . . I know he would), and I remember him once saying to me, ‘Music makes the world go around’.  I know he’s a big music fan, and I’m sure this has created one more Frank Turner fan, at least!

TL: What were the challenges of putting together such an eclectic mix of stories?

CG: It was the opposite of a challenge, really. It was an outrageous pleasure, the kind of freedom that rarely comes along, both for us as editors and for the contributors. So often you get invited to contribute to an anthology that has such a specific remit, or at least is bound by a particular genre. What writer wouldn’t love the freedom of being asked to take a look at three postcards, pick one, and write a story inspired by it—any story you want, in any genre you want, or no genre at all? What a wonderful gift to be able to give the authors, and the readers, and ourselves.

CG: What surprised you the most, as the stories came in? (Aside from how great Frank’s contribution is, which should really come as no surprise to anyone.)

TL: I think it was how different each story was, and also how differently each writer approached the invitation.  Some were quite literal, writing stories inspired by messages or pictures on the postcards.  Others seemed to just allow the postcards to trigger something in their mind, and the stories were only very tangentially linked.  I think it goes back to what you said about the freedom of such an idea.  And as a writer, I know that’d be a great thing.  We’ve ended up with such a pleasingly eclectic mix.  I’m delighted with how it all worked out!

TL: You’ve edited a lot of anthologies, was this one relatively easy to put together, or more difficult than usual?

CG: A little bit of both. Coming up with the list of authors we wanted to invite was difficult, as we wanted authors who are inspired by music, who are fans of Frank Turner’s music specifically, and who wouldn’t be terrified of fucking up such an open challenge as this offered. But we began with a core of writers whom we knew would jump at the chance. And the results . . . folks will see for themselves, but the results are extraordinary. I’m as proud of this anthology as I’ve ever been of anything with my name on it.

CG:  What would you say about this book to readers who aren’t familiar with Frank’s music? And what would you say about it to Frank’s fans who may not be familiar with some of the authors?

TL: I’d say to those readers, check out Frank’s songs, because his styles and themes are as varied as the stories in this book.  And for those who love Frank’s music already, this anthology is not only a great chance to read his first published fiction (how lucky are we!), but also to try out some other writers you might not have heard of before.

We’re thrilled to be launching the book at The Lexington, on Pentonville Road, London, on 10th July. And we’re even more pleased that Frank will be doing a short acoustic set at the launch, and then signing books.

Tickets are available to buy now and hard copies are available for pre-order.

T.M. Wright BEST OF and Novella MALLAM CROSS

The Windmills of His Mind: An Introduction to THE BEST OF T.M. WRIGHT by Steven Savile

There’s a reason Stephen King described Terry Wright as a rare and blazing talent, and a reason why, the last time we spoke, Terry said he hated that epitaph. There’s no getting away from the fact it’s true. Terry really was a rare talent. I’m tempted to call him a writer’s writer, because, when you know just how difficult some of the stuff he attempted to do with his prose was, the more you appreciate the sheer skill and down-beat power of those words he conjured with. But that King line was a millstone around his neck, too, because it was a false bill of goods. It got you thinking ‘ah, I’m getting another Big Steve’ here and became the kind of praise that’s impossible to live up to when your main aim, again and again, is to subvert expectation and deliver something new whilst at the same time exploring the familiar themes of death and loss of self.

‘But for me, Terry had more hits than misses.’

I never tired of reading his stories or his emails.

Now, there’s something vaguely melancholic about knowing we’ve reached this point, me writing the last few words that take us to the turn of the last page. After the final story in this book, ‘Otto’s Conundrum’, there are no more lost T.M. Wright stories waiting to be discovered. This is it, right here, in this collection, the rarest thing, the last original and previously unpublished T.M. Wright story.

Indeed, the fact you’re actually able to read it is nothing short of a miracle of a lazy mind, to be honest, and a thank-you to my email provider for hanging onto an archive of hundreds of thousands of emails dating back about fifteen years.

‘A little story for you before we get to the story itself.’

Many years ago now—and when I say many, it’s more than a decade and then some—I was sitting in a café in Stockholm when one of those bright shining thunderbolts of inspiration struck and I wrote the pitch document for something called ‘Monster Noir’, which was a shared world concept where all of those monsters grew up loving were real, and had been hidden away in an enclosure in the Nevada desert, victims of the Monster Alienation Act passed by Nixon, and so on. Terry wrote ‘Otto’s Conundrum’ specifically for this book that never was, with us trading a good forty or fifty emails about his ideas for the world, possible storylines and characters he imagined living in it. He wanted to be sure everything he came up with gelled with the world as I saw it, and together try to find out how to best make it fit in smoothly. He had a wonderful habit of sending snippets he was excited about while he was working, just the odd paragraph, a few lines of a description or a turn of phrase that he’d particularly enjoyed during that day’s work which made any sort of collaboration with him a lot of fun. Indeed, so many emails were filled with enthusiasm over Nyxon, our fictional town and its inhabitants and what might become of them, so in the slump that followed the failure to publish, we were both very down about everything.

‘We’d invested a lot emotionally in the project and suddenly there was nothing.’

It probably sat on our respective hard-drives for a year or more before we even discussed it again, but when we did, it was Terry broaching the idea of us working together on a follow-up piece talking about what happened after the last lines of Otto’s story, making it something bigger. Maybe a two-part story, or a short novel, or the illusive ‘something’.

That was a big deal to me—not least because A MANHATTAN GHOST STORY was one of those ten books that made me want to be a writer, and the idea that Terry didn’t just like my work enough to write that glorious introduction to Temple: Incarnations of Immortality where he half-jokingly called me a mad man who had clearly consorted with devils . . . but that he liked my work enough to want to fuse it with his own.

So, after maybe a year with less contact than there had been for a good three or four years, there was suddenly a mad flurry of emails, ideas building into ‘something’ and it looked like we were beginning to get there with the story of the Sheriff. Terry actually mailed to say he was starting work on it that day, but when I woke up the next day (thanks to the time zone shift between us) expecting a little sample of Otto’s return, instead there was a bullet point outline for something else entirely, a brand new idea that had gripped him as he sat down, a sort of crime noir horror, Sally Pinup. The story had taken root inside his head, unplanned, he explained, and had gripped him madly. Would it be okay if he saw where it would go before we got back to Otto?

I remember my response, it was the typically sanguine, ‘No worries mate, we’ve got loads of time, we’ll come back to it. I’ve got plenty to be getting on with.’

Only of course we didn’t have loads of time, and neither of us realised how little, to be fair. But, the joy for us is that he got to finish that last novella, Sally Pinup, while he was still on the top of his game, and it’s included here as a rarity along with his better-known short stories.

‘Terry didn’t write much in the way of short fiction, and often what he did was little more than hallucinatory fragments.’

So the fact we have something complete, and traditional in terms of story, that explores all of his familiar themes, is a wonderfully unexpected gift from my old friend.

And boy did we get lucky. Terry worked on an old computer—which even in 2008 was ancient. He used to joke that it was a brick even then . . . I seem to remember it was a Pentium, which dates it. During his final months in hospice care that machine, along with all of the digital copies of his old manuscripts and work in progress gave up the ghost and went to silicon heaven. I’ll be honest. I thought Otto was gone forever, lost in the crashes, because it hadn’t survived the several digital migrations my own files had gone through over the intervening decade. Why would it? Monster Noir was never happening. It wasn’t my work. It was only when a friend emailed asking if I had a copy of his submission lurking in my email by any chance because he’d lost his that I thought, hmm, you know, I might . . . I’m terrible. I never clear the online storage (there are about 400,000 emails still on the server) and just pay increased fees every year to add gigabytes to the account. I found Terry’s original emails, hundreds of them, spanning about six years, a real treasure trove of my dead friend’s thoughts and words, which were vital in completing work on what became MALLAM CROSS, and, deep in the pile, several revised versions of the manuscript for ‘Otto’s Conundrum’. Terry was a tweaker. He’d send a finished story, then two days later a version with a couple of changed sentences would arrive; then a week later along came another version with a few words changed; and so on until what you had on paper was exactly how he wanted to read.

‘I’ve explained what happened next in the introduction to Mallam Cross . . .’

. . . and how as a fan of his work Peter Crowther stepped in and volunteered the excellent PS Publishing to make these two books a reality. He’s a champion. But Terry has another champion in David Niall Wilson, who not only came to my aid sourcing digital versions of some of these old stories but with his Crossroads Press has kept Terry’s words alive for a new generation of readers. These two gentlemen have, I’m sure, never met, but came together to make this last book possible and for that I will be forever grateful.

Sometimes, just sometimes, it feels like it’s not luck at all . . . but then, Terry did spend most of his life writing about how our world and the next interplay, so maybe he had a little hand in this stuff not remaining lost.

Now let’s close with Steve once more with a short nod from his twenty-six hundred word Afterword to MALLAM CROSS . . . 

In the months before his death Terry tried to bring that city of ghosts to life. Too sick to write, blind now, he dictated the ideas as they came to him, spitballing a big grand confusing city and its inhabitants and histories, but with no real connective tissue. He created a cast of if not hundreds, probably close to a hundred, with snatches of thoughts and bits of backstory, but it was all very disparate. Roxane, Terry’s wife, transcribed all of it. Around 50,000 words of these little histories. But it was a race against time he was never going to win, and as his own grasp of reality slipped deeper into the dementia consuming it, it became harder and harder for him to connect with his creation and, full of frustration and anger at his inability to get the words out and shape the ideas as he saw them in his mind he gave up working on this and realized he’d never get to tell the stories of these last imaginary people living inside him.

Now available for pre-order. Buy either the BEST OF collection (£30) or MALLAM CROSS (£18) or better still, pick up both books in an illustrated slipcase (just 200 copies with a signature from Steve) priced at £50. 

The PS Book of Fantastic Fictioneers: A History of the Incredible

The “Fictioneers project” which has culminated in these two wonderful books has a long history but mainly I just wanted to celebrate a special group of men and women who made indelible marks on our collective and individual consciousness and whose works stand as milestones in the history of fiction in culture. It couldn’t be just my personal lesser known favorites, if it was going to be a history so there were obligatory entries like Walt Disney, Steven Spielberg, Ursula LeGuin, Rod Serling, Gene Roddenberry and so on.

I put Jack Kirby in and Roy Thomas thought Stan Lee should also be included . . .

. . . and, of course, Stephen King had to be there and so he was . . . along with literally hundreds of others. But I mostly wanted to spotlight people like John Stanley, Mo Gollub, Jay Matternes, Basil Gogos, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Basil Wolverton, Bill Watterson, Arthur Machen and others you may not know much about but you should. And after you’ve spent some time in these pages, you will.

We cover weird fiction, comic books, children’s books, cartoons (print and animated), movies, television, paleo art and more.

And the fine men and women who graciously lent their expertise in the form of special created-for-this-book essays are legion and legend. Just scan the list of contributors and you’ll see what I mean. Interesting connections were made; Ramsey Campbell wrote about Hans Christian Andersen, Stuart Gordon wrote on Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison on Frank Herbert, Maryelizabeth Hart on Octavia Butler, Roy Thomas on Robert E. Howard, Chris Ryall on Harlan Ellison, S.T. Joshi on Algernon Blackwood, Pete Atkins on Ramsey Campbell and many many many more.

I am so proud of what we have done together here but before I get too excited, I must make mention of the illustrious Ernest Farino who wrote on Ray Harryhausen (of course!) and also laid the book out and brought a wealth of design skills to the table. And of course Pete Crowther, the rascal who nourished and encouraged the whole project and is finally publishing it. There have been frustrating delays but as is often the case, the book is far better for them. I’m so glad to put it out now rather than a couple of years ago—it’s a better book now, plain and simple. I hope you get this book and I am confident that if you do, you will love it.  And now back to our sponsor. Much love to one and all. From Pete Von Sholly Early 21st Century.

Oh, thank you so much, PeeVee.

Folks, I just can’t let it go without a few final words. This project—two jam-packed books in full illustrative colour thoughout, cartoons, movie stills yada yada yada—runs to amost 800 pages split into four- or six-page sections each of which concentrates on an individual or collective achievement. Believe me, reading REPEATEDLY though this crazy project is the most fun you’re gonna have for the whole of what’s left of this year and everything else that’s already lining up.

Putting a price on this project has been the true nightmare but we’ve figured it out. Each pair of books—Volume 1 and Volume 2—will cost £50 a piece plus postage but you can have both volumes for £90.

Available for Pre-Order.

Magpie’s Ladder by Richard A. Kirk

Sneak Peek Story Extracts

MAGPIE’S LADDER comprises five stories that came to the author/artist while working on his visual art. “My preferred drawing technique is stippling in ink,“ he tells us, “creating images with countless dots using a mechanical pen or brush. During those long hours, my imagination would wander, introducing strange characters and settings. The elements began to cohere into stories. Writing them down became a new path for expression, and for approaching the worlds that I enjoy creating.”

From “Magpie’s Ladder”.

Lily dreamed of a long darkness. She thought it was permanent until a gentle pulse of light brought about a change. The light, which grew in strength, came from a twisting torus above a giant’s head made from innumerable tiny objects—bones, gears and glass. She realized that the life she had thought was forever was an instant, the fulcrum between one thing and another, one place and another.

From “Lint”

A pale giant sat in the middle of a small boat, nine fingers whitening on the gunwale. His nickname was Crane, given for his slender limbs and long neck. Crane feared any expanse of water, and had a prickling acquaintance with finned fish anaphylaxis. The lake was a fogged mirror with silvering marred by innumerable darting pumpkinseeds. He hummed “Jelly Roll Blues” to calm himself. The vintage outboard motor, which looked like some kind of reeking steampunk beetle, seemed about to rattle the boat to pieces. Crane only loosened his grip when the island, for so long a scribble on the horizon, began to fill his field of vision. The pilot, a desiccated man who’d offered Crane a bump of meth off the back of a freckled hand before setting out, let the boat drift toward the shore. They said goodbye, in a haze of pale gasoline exhaust.

From “The Engrosser”.

“Hey, Paperweight.” Synge’s nickname in the firm was Paperweight, derived from the fact that his days were spent leaning over a table, pressing papers into the wood grain with his threadbare elbows. Paperweight was the cruel invention of Norton Alder, the firm’s chief accountant.

It was Alder now, the ridiculous ass, rousing Synge from his funk. “Paperweight, the old man wants to see you.” Something in Synge’s bowel shifted, like an eel in a bottle.

From “Elephant Bridge”.

One evening, two women drifted along a river in a rowboat. The older of the two, Justine, was in her seventies. She sat at the front of the boat, wrapped in a crocheted blanket, with a pug curled in her lap. She rubbed its ears between her fingers absently. The younger woman, pale from many hours in the library, dipped the oars only as often as needed to keep them on course. The river was choked with water lilies filigreed with tadpoles. Minnows darted between the stems, skirting sepia carp that moved with stately purpose. It was Justine’s favorite place. As a young woman she had painteden plein air on the embankment, but that evening it had been Gillian who’d suggested a row.

From “Thin Skin”.

Eric found the chair in a study at the end of a hall. It was an unremarkable orange armchair. He sat down, tentative at first, but then with a kind of bone-weary pleasure. It wasn’t as though Ackerman had killed himself in some messy sort of way. His death had been a prim affair in which he had calculated with precision the required dose of phenobarbital. There were minute burns in the chair’s wide arms. The material had been worn thin where the elbows met it. This was a comfortable reading chair, the kind of chair you could spend an entire Sunday in with the right book. Eric felt an idea kindle in his mind. He could put the chair in his bedroom. After all, why should Jennifer have any say over his household furnishings? Chuffed by this minor rebellion, Eric stood up and gave the chair an exploratory tug. It was damned heavy. He pulled off the cushion and tried again, but felt no discernable difference.

Now Available for Pre-Order.

 

THE BROOD by Stephen R. Bissette

A Midnight Movie Monograph on THE BROOD was a no-brainer. When comics artist and film critic Stephen R. Bissette said he wanted to write it, I think I almost bit his hand off.

I still think that it’s Cronenberg’s most powerful film, the first film he made where everything came together in perfect synthesis. And Steve . . . well Steve’s writing was part of my formative development as a film lover, in the pages of GOREZONE and DEEP RED.

I don’t remember how we got to know each other, but that’s social media for you. I think it may have been reminiscing about DEEP RED editor Chas. Balun that broke the ice. And somewhere a friendship began to grow so that, when I came to edit WE ARE THE MARTIANS, I invited Steve to come aboard. And really, given the way his contribution to that collection grew beyond his and my expectation . . . I wasn’t entirely surprised when this one did as well.

But still, what Steve handed in to me was like nothing I have ever read before . . . and like everyone here at PS Towers, I’ve read quite a lot.

Seriously: It’s huge, and all encompassing. It ranges across the history and lineage of the genre in film and literature, what came before THE BROOD and what came after; it opens doors on Cronenberg’s biography and Stephen’s too. It looks at how ideas in natural history, science, mythology and metaphysics influenced the times and culture in which THE BROOD was conceived, and into which it was then born. It explores disturbing elements of Canadian cultural and political history involving the systemic abuse and experimentation on orphan children in the name of science; looks at cults and deprogramming; and takes a bold and heartfelt look at how trauma and abuse affects not only the victims, but also the people who love them. Not to mention the unique production and distribution history of this most unusual family drama.

There are precedents of course: Raymond Durgnat’s A LONG HARD LOOK AT PSYCHO comes to mind, but that’s a forensic book, picking apart the film in question shot by shot; it puts the movie under a microscope and as a result the focus is sharp, but necessarily narrow. I’ve never read anything that takes quite such a holistic approach as Stephen has done here. Not about a single film. The nature and history of an idea. He approaches the film like psychogeography, exploring the ripples both backward and forward in time, climbing the vertical and horizontal axes of its influence to see what went in to the film, and what came out.

The breadth of topics that Steve covers in this book is breathtaking. The number of threads that he finds woven into the intricate tapestry of this single 90 min film is dizzying, and he picks at them all. This book breaks new ground for Electric Dreamhouse, and at an entirely new length—six times longer than a standard monograph volume! We’re in the final stages before this enormous book goes to press. The signing cards that we did for the HORROR EXPRESS book went down well, so we’re doing more (and backtracking to do signature cards for some earlier entries in the series too). This time out, were looking at something extra exciting. Not only will Stephen Bissette be signing but we should be adding signatures from stars Art Hindle and Cindy Hinds as well.

I can’t wait for you to read this.                                                                                                                           —Neil Snowdon

Now available for pre-order. 

Sneak Peek Extract: Lost Americans by Jeb Burt

‘The Dead Kingdom’

One dusk, he was caught on camera. He kneeled at the brink of Jade Falls, in the center of the park, cupped hands into the yellow bell of water into a pool. Bringing the cold chlorine to his mouth he drank deeply. Security came in a minute but he was gone.

No one knew where—not even those who saw him go. The tourists at the railing snapped photos of the gunslinger and then argued: a Quebecois saw him dash over the lip into shady Pioneer Forest. Others claimed he tore off his boots and swam the lagoon’s curry to Lost Children’s Isle. The security men ran fingers through their hair, staring over the surface of churned carotene in the low sun. Excited children clambering on rocks on the island, their screams loud over the water, looked at the white steamboat that whistled. Tiers lit by oil lanterns glistened calmly in a cake of white pine.

Foreign to the tan Californians, the gunslinger was always discerned in the crowd. His raw physiognomy under the sombrero was ruthless. Wind harsher than the breezes here, laden as they were with marine moisture, had aged him prematurely. Incipient cancers specked his face, his eyes kinked at their sides though he could not have been twenty-one.

The first girl vanished from the Triassic Train.

The Junior Astronaut, on a lone voyage in the Sky Ships, parents clapping at the rail, was snatched away in his slow migration to the Emerald Chateau across the sky.

Next two teens.

Their parents left them playing in Babylon while they got lemon ice. The girls did not emerge from the vines when their parents screamed.

The gunslinger stood staring into a mirror pool, light webs menacing him under his sombrero, minutes after the girls descended into the crevices of the ruins.

Initially corporate requested the costumed rustler for questioning, but the sheriffs and gunhands of Lincoln, New Mexico—two zones east of Babylon—did not know the strange man staring with a wistful look into his image, the tourist stream forking around him on the video, ants around a coal.

Rumors of sightings passed among the crews, toy vendors, popcorn men and sugar sculptors. He moved in smooth silence through the visitors, colts and belts burning, jeans dark on the ecstatic color.

In-Stock and Available to Order. 

Aeota by Paul Di Filippo

Sneak Peek Extract:

5.

Judge Dread

       The opalescent murk outside my windshield had gotten pretty bad by the time I hit the outskirts of the city where AEOTA had its corporate HQ, and I was grateful I didn’t have to head any further north.  Just breathing this stuff was becoming problematical.

       Past an elementary school, a mall, a junkyard, a milk-bottling plant—

       find aeota yesterday everywhere.

       The building that housed AEOTA bore discreet signage in a modest font attesting to the company’s humble presence.  An elegant single-story block of offices, more viridian-tinted glass than steel, was dwarfed by a tall windowless monolithic manufactory wing longer than a couple of football fields, all utilitarian coppery metal.

       I took a visitor’s parking space and entered a pleasant atrium.  A receptionist ensconced as eye-candy behind a circular desk might have wandered in off the pages of Vanity Fair.

       “I’d like to see Mr. Thaumas, please.”

       “You’re expected?”

       “No.  But if you tell him I want to talk about Holger Holtzclaw and Eurybia Enterprises, he might get all puppy-dog eager.”

       Three minutes later, I had a temporary badge and a guide—a young intern who looked as if he could shave the down from his cheeks with a lettuce leaf—and was heading toward what I hoped were, if not some definitive answers, at least some further milestones along this crazy road.  I felt a little as if I were Nick Fury walking through the dangerous corridors of AIM, but since I didn’t see any guys in yellow bee-keeper suits, I tried to shrug off the feeling.  Besides, I wasn’t right for the role of Nick:  I looked awful with an eye-patch.

       The wooden door bore the title of CEO and my man’s full name:  Thomas T. Thaumas.

       I don’t know who I expected to see behind that door.  The Devil, Gordon Gekko, Hannibal Lecter, Dr. Evil.  But whatever menacing figure my imagination might have supplied, it wasn’t that of Judge Hardy.

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Next Stop—

Interested to learn more from Mark Steensland? 

Here’s a little piece about Rick Hautala, NECon, and his new collection AUTUMN PROSE, WINTER VERSE.

Plus, check out the link to the short film “Lovecraft’s Pillow” that was played in a handful of festivals around the world: http://ow.ly/E5J150kmKla 

“In 2006, during a conference at Ithaca College in upstate New York, I was standing in the auditorium lobby, waiting for the doors to open, when my eyes lingered on the badge of a guy who just happened to share a name with the author of Night Stone. I introduced myself and discovered–to my surprise–that it really was Rick Hautala. Since we were both attending solo, we sat next to each other, starting a conversation that lasted until his death in March of 2013.

Over our too-brief time together, we collaborated on all sorts of scripts, films, novels, and stories, one of which (called “Lovecraft’s Pillow”) is included in this collection. I can say without qualification that Rick was the best friend I ever had. I often told people that he was more of a brother to me than my blood. And if you had the great good fortune to know him, you understand exactly what I’m talking about.

It was Rick who introduced me to NECon, and then to everyone there. Thanks to Rick, Chris Golden helped get my middle-grade novel Behind the Bookcase to an editor at Random House, and, thanks to Rick, F. Paul Wilson gave me a cover blurb when they published it. Thanks to Rick, Richard Chizmar produced our best short films: “The Ugly File,” based on the story by Ed Gorman, “The Weeping Woman,” based on the story by Paul Kane, and “Peekers,” based on the story by Kealan Patrick Burke. Thanks to Rick, Pete Crowther saw “Peekers” and loved it. And now here I am, writing a blog entry for PS Publishing as they send my short story and poetry collection into the world. I hope some of what I’ve done in these pages honors all of those who helped me get here.

Did I forget to mention the name of the conference where I met Rick? No, I didn’t forget. It’s the best part of this tale, which is why I saved it for the end, to make it one of those stories that proves truth is stranger than fiction.

It was the first Rod Serling Conference. Of course it was.”

Now available for pre-order.

PS titles 2018

The Ammonite Violin & Other Stories by Caitlín R. Kiernan (January 2018)

SYNOPSIS

In The Ammonite Violin & Others, the author rises to meet the high expectations she set with such collections as Tales of Pain and Wonder, A is for Alien, and the World Fantasy Award-nominated To Charles Fort, With Love. Within these pages, you’ll discover a dazzling suite of stories situated on the borderlands between the unspeakable and the erotic, the grotesque and the sublime. Here are stories of dream and metamorphosis, strange lands and beings existing beyond the veil of death and beyond this earth. Here is a selkie who’s lost her sealskin, a woman with a blackhole in her heart, a fairie girl fallen to the Queen of Decay, the descent of a modern-day Orpheus, and a killer who has fashioned the most exquisite musical instrument from the remains of one of his victims.

Here are dreams, nightmares, and worse things yet.

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Wakulla Springs by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages (January 2018)

SYNOPSIS

A novella about four generations of an African American family and their ties to the beautiful and mysterious Wakulla Springs, the deepest submerged freshwater cave system in the world, in the jungle of the Florida panhandle. This remarkable work encompasses a unique history of the fantastic, featuring Tarzan, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, overlaid with the shadow of Jim Crow laws in the Deep South. Ranging from the late 1930s to the present day, “Wakulla Springs” is a tour de force of the human, the strange, and the miraculous, a masterpiece of American magic realism.

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Best New Horror #28 edited by Stephen Jones (January 2018)

SYNOPSIS

In this latest edition of THE WORLD’S LONGEST-RUNNING ANNUAL SHOWCASE OF HORROR AND DARK FANTASY you will find CUTTING-EDGE stories by such authors as ANGELA SLATTER, STEPHEN VOLK, RICHARD CHRISTIAN MATHESON, DENNIS ETCHISON, LISA TUTTLE and STEVE RASNIC TEM, amongst many others, along with the usual OVERVIEW OF THE YEAR IN HORROR and NECROLOGY of those who have left us.

CONTENTS

  • Introduction: Horror in 2016 – The Editor
  • Pale Tree House – Angela Slatter
  • ​​​​​​​The Light at the Centre – Maura McHugh
  • ​​​​​​​En Plein Air – J.T. Glover
  • India Blue – Glen Hirshberg
  • ​​​​​​​Walking with the Cross – Peter Bell
  • Bedtime Story – Richard Christian Matheson
  • ​​​​​​​The Symphony of the Normal – Darren Speegle
  • ​​​​​​​The Ballet of Dr. Caligari – Reggie Oliver
  • Who is This Who is Coming? – Lynda E. Rucker
  • ​​​​​​​The House That Moved Next Door – Stephen Volk
  • ​​​​​​​Princess – Dennis Etchison
  • ​​​​​​​A Home in the Sky – Lisa Tuttle
  • ​​​​​​​On These Blackened Shores of Time – Brian Hodge
  • The Enemy Within – Steve Rasnic Tem
  • ​​​​​​​The Court of Midnight – Mark Samuels
  • ​​​​​​​Far from Any Shore – Caitlín R. Kiernan
  • ​​​​​​​The Fig Garden – Mark Valentine
  • White Feathers – Alison Littlewood
  • ​​​​​​​Over to You – Michael Marshall Smith
  • In the Dark, Quiet Places – Kristi DeMeester
  • ​​​​​​​Mare’s Nest – Richard Gavin
  • The Red Forest – Angela Slatter
  • ​​​​​​​Necrology: 2016 – Stephen Jones & Kim Newman

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Lovecraft Illustrated: The Curse of Yig Vol 17 by Pete Von Sholly (February 2018)

SYNOPSIS

In this volume are five stories that really belong in the Lovecraft canon, even though they have been presented previously as “revisions”. From Lovecraft’s letters we know that he wrote these stories from ridiculously scrappy notes and/or some very poor prose and that he wrote (or re-wrote) them fresh from beginning to end himself. Many of HPL’s “mythos” creations appear in these tales and there is much to enjoy for fans who think they have read everything by HPL and are looking for more. Oddly, at least one “revision” has been presented by Arkham House as a Lovecraft story (Under the Pyramids) and many have not. We have already addressed ‘The Mound’ in a previous book and these others fit comfortably along side that gem as more real Lovecraft fiction.

CONTENTS

  • Introduction by S. T. Joshi
  • The Curse of Yig by H. P. Lovecraft (with Zealia Bishop)
  • Medusa’s Coil by H. P. Lovecraft (with Zealia Bishop)
  • The Horror in the Museum by H. P. Lovecraft (with Hazel Heald)
  • Out of the Aeons by H. P. Lovecraft (with Hazel Heald)
  • The Diary of Alonzo Typer by H. P. Lovecraft (with William Lumley)
  • The Shadows out of the Madness of the Horrors in the Texts by Pete Von Sholly
  • Smother’d by Night-Gaunts by W. H. Pugmire
  • Did Lovecraft Write Lovecraft Pastiches? by Robert M. Price

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Phantom Limbs by Margo Lanagan (February 2018)

SYNOPSIS

Ghosts, deformed fairy tales, animal transformations, dystopic futures and twisted histories-these are the stuff of a Lanagan story.

An adolescent Hansel is enslaved by wicked tramp Grinnan during the Black Plague; a middle aged woman in country Australia has a last chance to save her swan-winged brother; Hans Christian Andersen’s tinderbox shows up as a battered Bic cigarette lighter in a world of blasted cities and morals; gangs of sheela-na-gigs ride the city train system, unnerving the populace with their strange singing.

Phantom Limbs collects fourteen stories published in anthologies, magazines and small collections throughout the past decade, and adds one brand new story, ‘The Tin Wife’, to deliver an extended tour of the country of the weird.

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The Tommyknockers by Stephen King (SOLD OUT)

Late last night and the night before,
Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers,
knocking at my door.
I want to go out, don’t know if I can,
’cause I’m so afraid
of the Tommyknocker man.

It begins with nothing more frightening than a nursery rhyme; yet in Stephen King’s hands it becomes an unforgettable parable of dread, a threat from an unimaginable darkness that drags the practical inhabitants of a New England village into a hell worse than their own most horrible nightmares . . . and yours.

It begins with a writer named Roberta Anderson, looking for firewood in the forest that stretches behind her house. Bobbi stumbles over three inches of metal, which unusually heavy spring runoff has left sticking out of the soil. A logger’s beer can, she thinks at first, but “the metal was as solid as mother-rock.”

It begins with Bobbi’s discovery of the ship in the earth, a ship buried for millions of years, but still vibrating faintly, still humming with some sort of life . . .faint . . . weak . . . but still better left alone.

Bobbi then begins to dig–tentatively at first, then compulsively–and is joined by her old friend (and onetime lover) Jim Gardener. Aided by a weirdly advanced technology, their excavation proceeds apace. And as they uncover more and more of an artifact both familiar and so unbelievable it is almost beyond comprehension, the inhabitants of Haven start to change.

There is the new hot-water heater in Bobbi’s basement–a hot-water heater that apparently runs on flashlight batteries. The vengeful housewife who learns of her husband’s affair . . . from a picture of Jesus on top of her TV, a picture that begins to talk. Not to mention the ten-year-old magician who makes his little brother disappear . . . for real.

The townspeople of Haven are “becoming”–being welded into one organic, homicidal, and fearsomely brilliant entity in fatal thrall to the Tommyknockers.

In this riveting, nightmarish story, Stephen King has given us his tautest, most terrifying novel to date. And the next time someone raps at your door, you may want to keep the chain on. It just might be the Tommyknocker Man.


One More Kill by Matt Hughes (March 2018)

SYNOPSIS

He was a trained killer, an orphaned kid who rose from raw recruit to the rank of major in the US Army Rangers. He was looking forward to retiring at the end of a thirty-year hitch, but when he developed a low-grade form of leukemia, the Army pushed him out and left him feeling alone and useless – until a fluke encounter with a rogue doctor tipped him into a new hobby: killing those who had done great harm and gotten away with it.

But then a police detective starts to dig into his “operations,” while a vicious old enemy resurfaces with a scheme to draw the Ranger into a web of contract killing and gun running. Pushed too far, the Ranger means to solve his problems with bombs, bullets, and his own bare hands.

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Dislocations by Eric Brown and Keith Brooke (March 2018)

SYNOPSIS

Project Kon-tiki, the world’s first extra-solar colony expedition, is just weeks away from departure, and tension is mounting at Lakenheath Base. Psychologist Kat Manning is one of the eighteen specialist whose clone will be sent to the stars, and her job is to work with the original specialists, the ‘left behind’, to monitor and support them through their dislocation . . . But when Kat is kidnapped by the Allianz, a faction opposed to the colonisation program, more than just her safety is at stake. The entire mission is in jeopardy. In Dislocations, the first volume of the Kon-tiki Quartet, Brown and Brooke tell the story of humankind’s last-gasp efforts to reach the stars, set against the backdrop of an Earth torn apart by looming environmental disaster.

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Firing the Cathedral by Michael Moorcock (March 2018)

SYNOPSIS

In the 1960s Jerry Cornelius was the coolest assassin on the Ladbroke Grove block.

By the 1970s The Condition of Muzak had won the Guardian Fiction Prize and The Final Programme was a feature film starring Jon Finch, Jenny Runacre, Hugh Griffith and Sterling Hayden.

In the 1980s the world’s first cyberpunk continued to inspire a generation of writers including William Gibson, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and bands like the Human League.

By the 1990s he was up and running towards the guns again in stories like ‘The Spencer Inheritance’, ‘The Camus Referendum’ and ‘Cheering for the Rockets’, which dealt with the icons and key events of the day.

At turn of the millennium, in Firing the Cathedral, he responded to the attacks on America of September 2001 and their consequences, to the realities of global warming and global terrorism, and the apocalypse had never seemed more terrifying, never been more fun. Cooler, sharper, his fingers firmly on the pulse of the twenty-first century, Jerry Cornelius was back, counting names and taking heads.

In this book and its new companion volume Pegging the President, modern life will never feel the same to you again.

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Pegging the President by Micheal Moorcock (March 2018)

SYNOPSIS

At turn of the millennium, in Firing the Cathedral, he responded to the attacks on America of September 2001 and their consequences, to the realities of global warming and global terrorism.

Now, in Pegging the President, Jerry Cornelius is back; the ambiguous, amoral, androgynous English Assassin, cooler, sharper, his fingers still firmly on the pulse of the twenty-first century, counting names and taking heads, showing once again that colonialism and despotism — the roots of empire gone sour — do not change. The apocalypse has never seemed more terrifying, never been more fun, and modern life will never feel the same to you again.

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To Charles Fort, With Love by Caitlín R. Kiernan (April 2018)

SYNOPSIS

To Charles Fort, With Love is award-winning fantasist Caitlín R. Kiernan’s third collection of short fiction, a haunting parade of the terrible things which may lie beyond the boundaries of science, the minds which may exist beyond psychology, and the forbidden places which will never be located in any orthodox globe.

To quote the object of Kiernan’s affection, meta-poet and arch-enemy of dogma Charles Hoy Fort, “The little harlots will caper, and freaks will distrac t attention, and the clowns will break the rhythm of the whole with their buffooneries—but the solidity of the procession as a whole: the impressiveness of things that pass and pass and pass, and keep on and keep on and keepon coming.”

A deceptively even dozen, this collection includes Kiernan’s celebrated stories “Onion” and “Andromeda Among the Stones,” as well as a number of more obscure pieces. Though Kiernan was recently praised as “the new Lovecraft,” these stories stand as testimony that she will never be merely the “new” anyone, that hers is a unique and demanding voice entirely unlike any other.

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The Dragon’s Child by Janeen Webb (May 2018)

SYNOPSIS

Meet the shapeshifting dragons of Hong Kong. Adept at passing for human, they are the kind of dragons you’d find at a Gatsby party—charming, sophisticated, glamorous, outrageously wealthy—and utterly ruthless.

Nothing, it seems, can challenge their privileged lives—until Lady Feng leaves one of her eggs to be raised by human foster parents in a remote mountain village.

The dragon child hatches. Born with dragon power, raised with human emotion, this child is trouble. And his powers are growing . . .

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The Inhabitant of the Lake by Ramsey Campbell (May 2018)

SYNOPSIS

The influence of H. P. Lovecraft spans the centuries. Several of his correspondents who were writers learned by imitating him. The early tales of Robert Bloch and Henry Kuttner read very much like Lovecraft, while others of his friends—Donald Wandrei, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard and August Derleth among them—incorporated his ideas and myths into their fiction. Bloch and Frank Belknap Long even wrote tributes to him that used him, barely disguised, as a character.

After Lovecraft’s death August Derleth took control of his mythos, adding to and organising it more systematically than its creator ever had. Derleth was a jealous guardian of Lovecraft’s reputation, and insisted on vetting any stories by new writers that used the mythos. Few found his favour until 1961, when a Liverpudlian fifteen-year-old sent him the first drafts of several Lovecraftian tales. The outcome was a ten-year professional relationship and the appearance in 1964 of the first book of previously unpublished Lovecraftian fiction for five years. It was The Inhabitant of the Lake.

This fiftieth anniversary edition reprints that book in full, including the original introduction. It also includes the first drafts of all the tales that were rewritten before publication and reproduces Derleth’s editorial responses to the stories.

This edition is superbly illustrated by Randy Broecker in the great tradition of Weird Tales.

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Visions from Brichester by Ramsey Campbell (May 2018)

SYNOPSIS

This companion volume to the complete PS Publishing edition of The Inhabitant of the Lake and Other Unwelcome Tenants collects all of Ramsey Campbell’s remaining Lovecraftian stories that are of less than novel length. It begins with the first tale Campbell wrote immediately after that first Arkham House book, and comes up to date with the novella The Last Revelation of Gla’aki, his recent return to his own Lovecraftian territory, where he rediscovers Lovecraft’s first principles and strips away the accretions of the mythos that developed after Lovecraft’s death.

The book includes the first publication anywhere of the first drafts of “Cold Print” and “The Franklyn Paragraphs”, and offers the bonus of “Mushrooms from Merseyside”, all his Lovecraftian tales inhumanly transmuted into limericks. The book also collects his Lovecraftian non-fiction, not least his transcription of an English correspondent’s letters to Lovecraft and a close reading of three Lovecraft tales.

Like the companion volume, this book is superbly illustrated by Randy Broecker in the great tradition of Weird Tales.

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Extrasolar edited by Nick Gevers (June 2018)

SYNOPSIS

Among the brilliant visionary scenarios in Extrasolar: military antagonists meet in the atmosphere of a gas giant; gifted children hijack a starship to search out a new home; a superjovian world yields mysterious and much-coveted gemstones; aliens find our solar system disconcertingly paradoxical; a feminist SF writer of the Seventies crafts liberating exoplanetary dreams; the habitats aboard a gargantuan spaceship cater to the needs of truly exotic aliens; and scientists eagerly seeking exoplanets confront a devastating truth. And then there are songs of home and far away and bitter exile; intelligence calling to intelligence across light years and species barriers; utterly immersive dives into perilous planetary atmospheres; brave responses to enigmatic messages from the stars; a machine embracing a Gothic destiny; and a truly different kind of space opera.

CONTENTS

  • Holdfast – Alastair Reynolds
  • Shadows of Eternity – Gregory Benford
  • A Game of Three Generals – Aliette de Bodard
  • The Bartered Planet – Paul Di Filippo
  • Come Home – Terry Dowling
  • The Residue of Fire – Robert Reed
  • Thunderstone – Matthew Hughes
  • Journey to the Anomaly – Ian Watson
  • Canoe — Nancy Kress
  • The Planet Woman By M.V. Crawford – Lavie Tidhar
  • Arcturean Nocturne – Jack McDevitt
  • Life Signs – Paul McAuley
  • The Fall of the House of Kepler – Ian R. MacLeod
  • The Tale of the Alcubierre Horse – Kathleen Ann Goonan

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Best New Horror #25 edited by Stephen Jones (June 2018)

SYNOPSIS

This 25th edition of Best New Horror showcases some of the very best short stories and novellas published in 2014. So get ready to spread your wings and take a bite out of this latest anthology of agony. And don’t forget to tell your fellow fiends about our new series of Best New Horror reprints. Just let them know who sent you . . . The Old Hag

CONTENTS

  • Introduction: Horror in 201
  • Who Dares Wins: Anno Dracula 1980 by Kim Newman
  • Click-clack the Rattlebag by Neil Gaiman
  • Dead End by Nicholas Royle
  • Isaac’s Room by Daniel Mills
  • The Burning Circus by Angela Slatter
  • Holes for Faces by Ramsey Campbell
  • By Night He Could Not See by Joel Lane
  • Come Into My Parlour by Reggie Oliver
  • The Middle Park by Michael Chisleet
  • Into the Water by Simon Kurt Unsworth
  • The Burned House by Lynda E. Rucker
  • What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Z— by Lavie Tidhar
  • Fishfly Season by Halli Villegas
  • Doll Re Mi by Tanith Lee
  • A Night’s Work by Clive Barker
  • The Sixteenth Step by Robert Shearman
  • Stemming the Tide by Simon Strantzas
  • The Gist by Michael Marshall Smith
  • Guinea Pig Girl by Thana Niveau
  • Miss Baltimore Crabs: Anno Dracula 1990 by Kim Newman
  • Whitstable by Stephen Volk
  • Useful Addressess

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Parasites by Eric Brown and Keith Brooke (June 2018)

SYNOPSIS

Humankind has at last sent a ship to the stars, leaving an Earth ravaged by environmental disaster and torn apart by competing sectarian interests.

Kat Manning is one of eighteen specialists aboard the starship Kon-Tiki, clones whose various areas of expertise will be crucial in the months and years ahead as they forge a new life on a strange alien world.

But what Kat finds on Newhaven is nothing she could have planned for, and every bit as surprising and challenging as the issues she left behind on Earth: mysterious aliens, political in-fighting, and someone willing to go to any lengths to keep a deadly secret.

In Parasites, the second volume of the Kon-Tiki Quartet, Brown and Brooke tell the story of humankind’s taming of an alien world – and of confrontation with the demons that lurk within the very psyche of humanity itself.

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Plague of Gulls by Stephen Gregory (July 2018)

SYNOPSIS

It’s David Kewish’s 18th birthday, but it doesn’t turn out quite as he expected. After suffering a horrible accident he receives a bizarre present in the form of a baby black backed gull. Only this bird isn’t his friend, instead his curious connection to the young bird is the catalyst for a series of incidents, which turns everyone against him.

Kes meets The Birds in this terrifying story of loneliness and madness in a small seaside town in Wales.

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Les Vampires by Tim Major (August 2018)

ABOUT THIS BOOK

UK novelist Tim Major, author of YOU DON’T BELONG HERE, has written a monograph on the sublime silent serial LES VAMPIRES, and in the process reignited my own obsession with its director Louis Feuillade, and Paris in that period. One of the reasons I always wanted to approach authors as well as critics for this series was precisely the hope that they’d bring a different angle to that we might expect and Tim has delivered in spades. His book is part commentary and exploration of his own fascination with the film, and part metatextual fiction that responds to, and evokes, the uncanny texture of the dreamlike world of the film itself.

—Neil Snowdon

1915, and in America D.W. Griffith is breaking new ground with his BIRTH OF A NATION, charting a path for the next century of US Cinema, as an art dedicated to narrative clarity and cohesion/certainty. Meanwhile, in France, the absinthe dream of the Belle Epoque was coming to an end in the nightmare of the First World War, and yet in the midst of it all, films were still being made.

Already famous for his amoral crime serial FANTOMAS (1913), Louis Feuillade embarked upon LES VAMPIRES on location in Paris, even as the War came close enough that German guns could shell the city. It was to be his masterpiece, and—in a way—the antithesis to D.W. Griffith. Feuillade’s was a cinema of uncertainty, of ambiguity and unease, even as it embraced comedy, metatextuality, breaking the fourth wall to wink at the audience/make us complicit. It is oneiric, poetic, sensual, and uncanny.

Born of the French literary and artistic heritage of the ‘fantastique’ it would, in it’s own way, set the course for the future of French film as a cinema in which ambiguity remains a defining characteristic, and a central pleasure to be embraced.

Join novelist Tim Major as he explores the dreamlike underworld of Louis Feuillade, the original femme fatale, Musidora, and her gang ‘The Vampires’…anything can happen, nothing is certain, in LES VAMPIRES.

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The Wind in His Heart by Charles de Lint (August 2018)

SYNOPSIS

Ottawa author Charles de Lint has finally returned to adult fiction with the release of his first major fantasy novel in eight years. The Wind in His Heart arrived on the shelves September 19th in conjunction with de Lint being inducted to the Canadian SF and Fantasy Association’s Hall of Fame. Renowned as a trailblazer of the modern fantasy genre, de Lint has won the World Fantasy, Aurora (three times), Sunburst, and White Pine awards, among others.

The new novel weaves a rich tapestry of story. Young Thomas Corn Eyes sees into the otherworld, but all he wants to do is get off the rez. Steve Cole escaped from his rock star life to disappear into the desert and mountains. Fifteen-year-old barrio kid Sadie Higgins has been discarded once too often. Blogger Leah Hardin needs to leave Newford, come to terms with the suicide of her best friend, and actually engage with her life. When these lives collide in the Hierro Maderas Mountains, they must struggle to escape their messy pasts and find a way to carve a future for themselves.

In recent years de Lint took a break from adult fiction to focus on juvenile books, which were weathering the rocky publishing business with greater stability. His young adult Wildlings trilogy earned him two Aurora awards; his middle grade novel The Cats of Tanglewood Forest won the Sunburst award and was also chosen by the New York Times as one of the top six children’s books of 2013.

The Wind in His Heart took de Lint three years to write. Rather than go the traditional route with a major publisher—which he says would have been simpler and probably far more lucrative—de Lint prefers the creative freedom that independent publishing offers him. The novel was published under his own imprint, Triskell Press, but it ended up as a hybrid indie/traditional release since Recorded Books, the “Rolls Royce of audiobook publishers” snapped up the audio rights when the editor read and loved the novel, and British specialty publisher PS Publishing grabbed limited edition hardcover rights.

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Walking with Ghosts by Brian James Freeman (August 2018)

SYNOPSIS

“Freeman’s prose is clean and lovely, painting the canvas of the printed page so unobtrusively yet with such pronounced effect. His writing will leave you both chilled and deeply moved.”

And he’s right. Brian’s first full-length collection, features twenty-nine unforgettable tales including several that are seeing print for the very first time. Intense, eerie, and compelling, the pages within contain characters and creations that will leave a haunting impression on the reader long after the final page is turned.

CONTENTS​​​​​​​

Introduction by William Peter Blatty

Foreword by Brian James Freeman

Part One: Weak and Wounded

  • Running Rain
  • Mama’s Sleeping
  • An Instant Eternity
  • Where Sunlight Sleeps
  • Marking the Passage of Time
  • Walking With the Ghosts of Pier 13
  • A Mother’s Love

Part Two: More Than Midnight

  • Pop-Pop
  • Answering the Call
  • The Final Lesson
  • Loving Roger
  • Among Us
  • Not Without Regrets
  • What They Left Behind

Part Three: Dreamlike States

  • The Temperament of an Artist
  • The Gorman Gig
  • One Way Flight
  • Monster Night
  • Tomorrow Could Be Even Better
  • One More Day
  • The Christmas Spirit
  • Silent Attic (Amy Walker)
  • Danny Dreams (Daniel Walker)

Part Four: Lost and Lonely

  • Ice Cold Dan the Ice Cream Man
  • Losing Everything Defines You
  • As She Lay There Dying
  • How the Wind Lies
  • Perfect Little Snowflakes
  • The Plague of Sadness
  • The Last Beautiful Day
  • Story Notes

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The Colorado Kid by Stephen King (New Artwork by Dave McKean)

SYNOPSIS

On an island off the coast of Maine, a man is found dead. There’s no identification on the body. Only the dogged work of a pair of local newspapermen and a graduate student in forensics turns up any clues, and it’s more than a year before the man is identified. And that’s just the beginning of the mystery. Because the more they learn about the man and the baffling circumstances of his death, the less they understand. Was it an impossible crime? Or something stranger still?

No one but Stephen King could tell this story about the darkness at the heart of the unknown and our compulsion to investigate the unexplained. With echoes of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon and the work of Graham Greene, one of the world’s great storytellers presents a moving and surprising tale whose subject is nothing less than the nature of mystery itself.

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Ice and Other Stories by Candas Jane Dorsey (September 2018)

SYNOPSIS

Beginning with the iconic 1988 story “(Learning About) Machine Sex” and ending with a new tale written specially for this volume, Ice gathers thirty years of the dazzlingly imaginative short fiction of Candas Jane Dorsey, who, as writer, editor, publisher, writing teacher, reviewer, anthologist, and essayist, has had a dramatic and formative effect on Canadian literary, queer and feminist speculative fiction since her debut story was published in 1977.

In Ice:

An alienated would-be assassin makes a hobby of destroying drowned skyscrapers…

A stolen child trained to kill discovers an alternative…

A detective fails to save her digital daughter from a predator…

A city becomes a museum under the curation of a bored former space-traveller…

An abuse survivor discovers the shocking pain that underlies an ambitious personal art project…

A tough, hard-boiled poet laureate tracks down a lost raison-d’être…

A bridge of virtual birds leads a shape-shifting futurist into a turbulent landscape of love, e-mail spam, and money…

These are only a few of the scenarios brought to edgy, literate, evocative life in this landmark collection.

CONTENTS

  • (Learning About) Machine Sex
  • Sleeping in a Box
  • Here Be Dragons
  • Turtles All the Way Down
  • Dvorzjak Symphony
  • Death of a Dream
  • Living in Cities
  • Going Home to Baïblanca
  • Mapping
  • Ice
  • How Many Angels Can Dance
  • Locks
  • Once upon a time…
  • Blood from a Stone
  • Mom and Mother Teresa
  • …the darkest evening of the year…
  • A Trade in Futures
  • Seven in a Boat, No Dog
  • First Contact
  • Dolly the Dog-Soldier
  • The Food of My People
  • End of the Line, or, Desperate Russian Girls Looking for Love
  • Notes and acknowledgements

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Uncommon Miracles by Julie C. Day (October 2018)

SYNOPSIS

A grieving man travels through time via car crash. A family of matriarchs collects recipes for the dead. A woman gains an unexpected child in the midst of a bunny apocalypse. An outcast finds work in a magical slaughterhouse. Julie C. Day’s debut collection is rife with dark and twisted tales made beautiful by her gorgeous prose and wonderfully idiosyncratic imagination. Melding aspects of Southern Gothic and fabulism, and utilizing the author’s own scientific background, Day’s carefully rendered settings are both delightful and unexpected. Whether set in a uniquely altered version of Florida’s Space Coast or a haunted island off the coast of Maine, each story in this collection carries its own brand of meticulous and captivating weirdness. Yet in the end, it is the desperation of the characters that drives these stories forward and their wild obsessions that carry them through to the end. It is Day’s clear-eyed compassion for the dark recesses of the human heart and her dream-like vision of the physical world that make this collection a standout.

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By the Light of My Skull by Ramsey Campbell (October 2018)

SYNOPSIS

Before I could prevent myself I jerked up the flashlight beam. What did I see? Not much for long, but far too much. The hands belonged to a shape that occupied all the space on a solitary dilapidated chair. Like the hands, the shape appeared to owe its substance to the grime that was everywhere in the dark. Perhaps the soft insidious sound I heard was demonstrating how restless that substance was, but I had the awful idea that it could be an attempt to breathe. I just had time to glimpse a face―eyes as black and unstable as the rest of the lopsided bulk, nostrils desperately dilating, lips that sagged into a helpless grimace and then struggled to produce another expression if not to speak―before the figure collapsed…

By the Light of My Skull collects many of Ramsey Campbell’s recent tales of supernatural horror and psychological disintegration, and finds disquiet in the most familiar places. A game of Bingo and its calls conceal a dark secret, and the number-plates of cars convey a monstrous message. A headphone commentary guides a visitor to a stately home deep into terror, and the remains of a funfair are unearthed, awakening much worse. A fairy tale is retold for our time – both grim and Grimm – and a page from a book turns into a tribute to one of the greatest creators of fantasy. A search on a beach brings an uncannily unwelcome helper, and a return to a childhood memory rouses a nightmare. The power of the first great horror film refuses to stay on the screen, and even a Beatles tour contains the seeds of madness. The classically spectral is roused by brass rubbing, and Halloween is celebrated by an apparition. A bird hide conceals an increasingly sinister watcher, and a communication from the dead letter office leads to the restless dead. The passwords we all need these days may work on our nerves, but here they’re the source of worse than panic.

The book is illustrated by the award-winning artist J. K. Potter, whose surreal images perfectly complement the nightmares in the prose.

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Dark Mirages edited by Paul Kane (October 2018)

SYNOPSIS

The Cenobites from Hellraiser return to their spiritual home of London for a showdown to end them all, and the legend of the world’s most famous vampire – Dracula – gets a fresh spin. The ghost of an elderly lady’s past returns, while a mysterious old-fashioned TV is rented out. And as a race against time begins, a deadly game of chance takes place… Dark Mirages is your chance to read unmade or rare TV/film treatments and scripts from talented writers such as Stephen Jones & Michael Marshall Smith, Stephen Gallagher, Axelle Carolyn, Peter Crowther, Muriel Gray and Stephen Laws. Compiled and edited by Paul Kane (Hellbound Hearts, Beyond Rue Morgue, A Carnivàle of Horror) this is a unique book no genre fan should be without!

CONTENTS

  • Introduction by Paul Kane
  • HRXX End of the World — Smith & Jones
  • Dracula — Stephen Gallagher
  • The Last Post — Axelle Carolyn
  • Prime Time — Peter Crowther
  • The Seven — Muriel Gray
  • Dead Man’s Hand — Stephen Laws

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Horror Express by John Connolly (October 2018)

SYNOPSIS

Remember watching Horror movies late at night, alone, in secret, when you you were just a child? The special thrill of forbidden fruit, the delightful dread that this one might cause nightmares . . .

Is there one film that stands out for you? One film in particular that defines that experience? For author John Connolly, it’s HORROR EXPRESS. But why? Why this one? What was it about this slightly ramshackle, British/Spanish co-production that, despite obvious flaws, made it such an effective, entertaining, and memorable Horror movie?

A British producer, a Spanish director; a star in mourning, another in debt; a script written around leftover sets from a previous film . . . it could have been forgettable trash, but it wasn’t.

And, during a late night screening on Irish television, it would make an indelible impression on the young boy who would grow up to become best selling crime author, John Connolly. 30 years after that first viewing John Connolly goes back to the source to find out why it stayed with him, and if it still works…

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Spirits of the Dead by Tim Lucas (October 2018)

SYNOPSIS

Dismissed as a ‘gloomy and sentimental hack’ by American and British critics in his day, Edgar Allan Poe was nonetheless revered in France as a ‘poete maudit’ and ‘master of the short story’ by Charles Baudelaire, praised as a ‘sublime poet’ by Mallarme, celebrated as a ‘lucid theoretician of poet effects’ by Valery. The difference could not have been more stark.

And yet, when the filmic poets of European Cinema came together to adapt Poe’s stories for SPIRITS OF THE DEAD (Histoires Extraordinaires) they were largely derided, with only Fellini’s ‘Toby Dammit’ segment receiving unanimous praise, while the American adaptations of Poe’s stories, by Roger Corman and AIP, received both popular and critical acclaim.

Fitting then, that the wheel should come full circle, as US author and Critic Tim Lucas mounts this compelling re-examination of a film which he has long defended as a Classic of the genre, and which in his own words ‘changed his life’.

Embracing the poetic and the sublime, Lucas takes to task the common misconception that this is a film of parts, to look at it as a richly imagined, sensual, cohesive, and poetic whole. A film which aims for something ‘other’ than straight forward scares, that eschews the clinical Freudianism of the Corman movies, for something more deeply felt.

Poe himself claimed that “a poem deserves its title only inasmuch as it excites, by elevating the soul.” For Tim Lucas, SPIRITS OF THE DEAD does just that.

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Octoberland by Thana Niveau (October 2018)

SYNOPSIS

Thana Niveau’s stories feature people on the edge – the edge of death, the edge of sanity, the edge of reality. In this diverse collection, two sisters leave a trail of bodies behind them as they go on the run, desperate to outrun the dark secrets of their past. A film fan is haunted by the actress whose brutal horror films he can’t stop watching. A child hears a ghostly voice through the radio reciting only numbers. And a young woman revisits the place she and her brother loved above all else—Octoberland—the strange amusement park that tore their world apart. Horror wears many faces here, from creeping dread to apocalyptic devastation, and no one escapes its dark touch.

Between summer and winter, between night and day, between good and evil, lies Octoberland.

Where the old Gods go to die

I got the feeling that the figures in the carvings weren’t wearing masks, that the ugly, snarling expressions were meant to be actual faces.

Where modern evils lurk …

The subtitles only translated the spoken dialogue, so Alex had no idea what the words carved into her flesh meant.

Where the world rebels against us …

The snow swirled like ocean currents, like the avalanche in her dream that had drowned the world.

Where both land …

The labyrinth is sevenfold, each turn leading deeper inside, winding towards the raised centre.

… and sea …

They found him lying in the surf, ranting about a black abyss the dolphins had shown him.

…are mysteries we may be better off never understanding.

Thana Niveau invites you to tour Octoberland, a place where hidden horrors lurk, love can be found in the most unusual places, and nothing is ever as it seems.

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Rime by Tim Lebbon (October 2018)

SYNOPSIS

In search of a new home after the downfall of planet Earth, the massive generation ship Cradle carries seventeen million souls in cryosleep.

One man, a control room technician, is part of a generation destined to live and die protecting these sleeping millions.

When Cradle encounters five unknown entities in the deepest reaches of interstellar space, he makes a fateful decision that will affect the future of the entire human race.

‘Rime’ is a powerful retelling of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner set against the cold, inhospitable backdrop of deep space.

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The Dark Masters Trilogy by Stephen Volk (October 2018)

SYNOPSIS

Whitstable – 1971

Peter Cushing, grief-stricken over the loss of his wife and soul-mate, is walking along a beach near his home. A little boy approaches him, taking him to be the famous vampire-hunter Van Helsing from the Hammer films, begs for his expert help . . .

“A beautiful piece of work . . . heartfelt, respectful, elegant, brave”—Dread Central

Leytonstone – 1906

Young Alfred Hitchcock is taken by his father to visit the local police station. There he suddenly finds himself, inexplicably, locked up for a crime he knows nothing about—the catalyst for a series of events that will scar, and create, the world’s leading Master of Terror . . .

“Volk possesses a questing mind and an expansive heart and paints dark and light sides of the human equation like few others”—Mick Garris, producer/director, Masters of Horror

Netherwood – 1947

Best-selling black magic novelist Dennis Wheatley finds himself summoned mysteriously to the aid of Aleister Crowley—mystic, reprobate, The Great Beast 666, and dubbed by the press ‘The Wickedest Man in the World’—to help combat a force of genuine evil . . .

“Beautifully written. Perfectly nuanced. I loved it”—Neil Spring, best-selling author of The Ghost Hunters

“Mesmeric and demonic. An instant classic”—Johnny Mains, series editor, Best British Horror

“The perfect finale to the Dark Masters Trilogy. Packed with word magic, full of illuminating darkness”  A. K. Benedict, author of The Beauty of Murder and Jonathan Dark or The Evidence of Ghosts

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The Smallest of Things by Ian Whates (October 2018)

SYNOPSIS

There are many Londons. From pomp to sleaze, from sophistication to dark corruption, Chris knows them all. A fixer with a particular set of skills, he can step between realities, piercing the thin veils that separate one London from another to find objects or locate people that have fallen between the cracks.

When a close friend, Claire, comes to him fearing for her life he is forced to use his abilities as never before, fleeing with her through a series of ever stranger Londons, trying to keep one step ahead of the men who murdered her boyfriend and are now hunting her.

At some point, Chris hopes that he and Claire can pause long enough to figure out why these mysterious figures from another London want her dead, but right now they’re too busy simply trying to stay alive.

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The Way of the Worm by Ramsey Campbell (October 2018)

SYNOPSIS

The ground floor of the shop was an extensive labyrinth of counters and displays. Merchandise surrounded me in no order I could grasp: perfumes, kitchen utensils, crockery, electrical equipment, televisions by the dozen… Some items I could scarcely make out, given the unhelpful dimness. I might have enquired why the place was so poorly lit if I’d seen anyone to ask, or were my eyes or my mind to blame? I headed for the televisions, which ought to lend me some illumination while I waited to feel equal to venturing outside again. All of them were silenced, and every one was showing footage of a film about a war zone if not a city devastated by some other disaster. A subtitle was gliding off the screens, but I caught the single word WORLDWIDE. I was growing uneasier than I cared to define when I noticed a man, presumably a sales assistant, in the furthest aisle of screens. “Excuse me,” I called, “what’s happening there, do you know?”

He was turning towards me when I began to wish he would do nothing of the kind. Far from growing more prominent as it came, his profile appeared to be shrinking, the long sharp nose and outthrust chin dwindling by the instant. On the whole I was glad of the dimness, which prevented me to some extent from seeing his face. If only this had been the solitary reason that I couldn’t make it out – but as he confronted me across the screens displaying desolation I saw his face implode, sucked inwards like a rubber mask turned inside out. Before the features disappeared into the bulb of flesh perched on the neck he thrust out a hand, if very little of one. As the fingers swiftly atrophied I realised he was pointing the rudimentary lump at the end of his arm at me . . .

More than thirty years have passed since the events of Born to the Dark. Christian Noble is almost a century old, but his and his family’s influence over the world is stronger than ever. The latest version of their occult church counts Dominic Sheldrake’s son and the young man’s wife among its members, and their little daughter too. Dominic will do anything he can to break its influence over them, and his old friends Jim and Bobby come to his aid. None of them realise what they will be up against – the Nobles transformed into the monstrousness they have invoked, and the inhuman future they may have made inevitable . . .

The Way of the Worm is the final volume of Ramsey Campbell’s Brichester Mythos trilogy, in which he returns to his original themes and develops them in his mature style. The first volume, The Searching Dead, received the Children of the Night Award from the Dracula Society for the best original Gothic fiction of the year.

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The Long Way Home by Richard Chizmar (November 2018)

SYNOPSIS

Gathered here for the first time ever are seventeen short stories, two essays, and a short script by award winning and New York Times bestselling author, Richard Chizmar.

Eerie, suspenseful, poignant, the stories in The Long Way Home run the gamut from horror to suspense, crime to dark fantasy, mainstream to mystery. This brand new collection features more than 100,000 words of short fiction, as well as more than 5,000 words of autobiographical Story Notes. Chizmar’s previous short story collection, A Long December, was published in 2016 to starred reviews from Library Journal and Kirkus, and was included on numerous “Best Books of the Year” lists. Entertainment Weekly gave the book high praise: “Each tale is a magic trick, luring you toward the light while leading you down an ever-darkening path. There is hope mingled with horror, and that’s Chizmar’s secret power. His storytelling always beats with a huge, passionate heart.”

Stephen King says he writes “terrific stories served with a very large slice of Disquiet Pie,” and with The Long Way Home, Richard Chizmar has taken his evocative and compelling storytelling to an entirely new level.

CONTENTS

  • The Man Behind the Mask
  • The Bad Guys
  • The Meek Shall Inherit…
  • Silent Night
  • Widow’s Point
  • My Father and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine
  • The Witch
  • A Nightmare on Elm Lane
  • Dirty Coppers
  • Mischief
  • The Man in the Black Sweater
  • Odd Numbers
  • The Hunch
  • Roses and Raindrops
  • Stephen King at 70: A Tribute to the Gunslinger
  • The Association
  • The Sculptor
  • Murder House script
  • The Custer Files
  • The Long Way Home
  • Story Notes

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Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar (December 2018)

Lior Tirosh is a semi-successful author of pulp fiction, an inadvertent time traveler, and an ongoing source of disappointment to his father.

Tirosh has returned to his homeland in East Africa. But Palestina―a Jewish state founded in the early 20th century―has grown dangerous. The government is building a vast border wall to keep out African refugees. Unrest in Ararat City is growing. And Tirosh’s childhood friend, trying to deliver a warning, has turned up dead in his hotel room.

A state security officer has now identified Tirosh as a suspect in a string of murders. A rogue agent is stalking Tirosh through transdimensional rifts―possible futures that can only be prevented by avoiding the mistakes of the past.

From the bestselling author of Central Station comes an extraordinary new novel recalling China Miéville and Michael Chabon, entertaining and subversive in equal measures.

A limited numbered edition (100 copies signed by Lavie Tidhar) housed in an illustrated slipcase and including:

  • “The Road to Unholy Land” —a postscript by Lavie exclusive to our edition (1000 words)
  • “The Time-Slip Detective” —by Lavie Tidhar — a short ‘seed’ story (3000 words) for the novel, also exclusive to our edition.

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