We’ve now pretty much drawn the line beneath Neil Snowdon’s epic evaluation of the work of the great Nigel Kneale for Electric Dreamhouse, WE ARE THE MARTIANS. And now, as if that were not enough, Neil has just handed in three new Midnight Movie Monographs but I’m going to pass you across to the man himself to get the official lowdown.
Over to you, Neil . . .
There are few things that make you happier as an editor than knowing that a reader loves your book. Doubly so when that reader has a direct connection to the subject. So it’s been immensely gratifying to see people’s reactions to the Deluxe Ltd Edition of WE ARE THE MARTIANS over the last week or so.
Thanks to everyone for their kinds words and for their patience as the last leg of the journey took a little longer than expected. I hope you’ll agree though, it was worth it. Please do tag us in your Twitter posts, and on Facebook etc if you’re sharing.
The book was a labour of love for all of us involved, and I know that readers share that love for Nigel Kneale and his work, so I think you’ll all appreciate how much it meant to receive a telephone call from his widow, the author and illustrator Judith Kerr, last friday who wanted to thank us for her copy of the Deluxe Edition, and to say how much she loves it. It’s as close as we can ever come to getting Nigel’s own approval, and it means the world to me.
With that in mind, it seems a good time to announce that work is underway on afollow up volume of essays, and a related project that I can’t quite tell you about just yet. But with Judith’s enthusiastic approval, we took the opportunity to start talking about something that Pete and I have both long dreamed of. Fingers crossed we’ll have something to announce soon!
Manuscripts for the the next three books in the Midnight Movie Monograph series are in with cover art and layouts being worked on as I type and I’m very excited about them. What are they you say?
Well, we’ve got Video Watchdog’s Tim Lucas writing about Euro Cult Poe Anthology SPIRITS OF THE DEAD (Histoires Extraordinaire) directed by Roger Vadim, Louis Malle, and Federico Fellini; a film that changed his life as a young teen. I always knew the movie was important to Tim, but what he’s written completely overturned the way I saw the film. You’re in for a treat! (I’ll be saying this a lot by the way, but one of the great thrills of doing the job I do is commissioning writers I love to cover movies that mean the world to them, and seeing the sparks that result).
We’ve also got UK novelist Tim Major, author of YOU DON’T BELONG HERE, whose work was new to me until about a year or two ago, and who has been a revelation. He’s 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. (Check out the rough version of the cover art).
Finally, I think I may have birthed a monster. Or rather Stephen R. Bissette has, and oh my am I happy about it!
Perhaps you know Steve as the extraordinary comics artist of Swamp Thing (from the classic run with Alan Moore and John Totleben), or his own biography of a T-Rex,Tyrant. Or maybe you know him as the editor and publisher of Taboo, the groundbreaking horror comic anthology which birthed From Hell and many others. Or maybe you were introduced to him—as I was as a snot nosed pre-teen—in the pages of Gorezone, where he took over from the mighty Chas. Balun to write a column that was about so much more than ‘gore movies’. Hell, perhaps you know him from the many books about film and comics history he’s written over the years as well. If you know him at all, you likely know that he doesn’t do anything by half.
And so when I invited him to write for the series, and he suggested THE BROOD, not only did I leap on it, I knew it would likely be a little longer than the usual 30,000 words. And as the book came together and Steve kept me updated, we knew that indeed it would go long, it kept expanding, new avenues kept opening but I don’t think even Steve expected that it would come in at roughly 250,000 words! Steve is what you might call a ‘holistic film critic’ he doesn’t just look at a theme or the filmic history of a genre convention he looks at it ALL. The emergence of an idea within a culture, where and how that relates to the times in which the film was conceived and made, how that might have influenced the filmmakers in creating the film, and the audience in how they received it; the production history and where it sits within the chronology of regional and genre film making; the personal histories of the artists involved and of the critic who is writing this . . . why it was so desperately, and deeply important to him and so at odds with the critical establishment of the time, including critics that he has enormous respect for. One shys away from calling something a ‘definitive’ work, but I think it’s safe to say this one is going to be a bit special.
I’ll leave it there for now. There’s more exciting stuff to come from Electric Dreamhouse this year, but I’d like to keep a few things to surprise you with!
The order page is up for LES VAMPIRES with the pages for THE BROOD and SPIRITS OF THE DEAD to follow in the coming week.