Category Archives: Publications

Ghost Story Awards 2014

If you’re not familar with Swan River Press, you need to change that. Congrats SRP!

Swan River Press

Dreams of Shadow and SmokeWe are pleased to announce that our first anthology, Dreams of Shadows and Smoke: Stories for J.S. Le Fanu, edited by Jim Rockhill and Brian J. Showers and published on the bicentenary of the author’s birth, has won the inaugural Ghost Story Award for Best Ghost Story Book 2014.

Congratulations are also due to D.P. Watt, whose tale “Shallabalah” (published in the Ghosts & Scholars Newsletter 26) won Best Ghost Story.

We’ve still got copies of Dreams of Shadow and Smoke available on our website for anyone interested—we still have a handful of copies signed by numerous contributors!

Thank you again to everyone who voted and contributed to this project. Below is a note from Jim Rockhill and Brian J. Showers:

Note from the Editors

We are both delighted to learn that Dreams of Shadow and Smoke: Stories for J.S. Le Fanu has won Best Ghost Story Book for…

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Four Exciting Releases From Penguin Classics

While I’m a little late to the party on this one, Penguin Classics have announced four titles to be published in 2015 and they are must haves for any fan of horror or the weird. The first, and most surprising title is a reprint of two Thomas Ligotti collections. Not only is Ligotti perhaps the greatest living weird author, he is also only the sixth or seventh living fiction author to be published in the Penguin Classics line. Here’s Penguin’s blub from their site.

Songs of a Dead Dreamer and GrimscribeTwo terrifying classics by “the best kept secret in contemporary horror fiction” (The Washington Post)

The recent smash success of HBO’s True Detective has sparked new interest in cult horror favorite Thomas Ligotti, who was cited by the show’s creator, Nic Pizzolatto, as a prime influence. Ligotti’s debut story collection, Songs of a Dead Dreamer, and its follow-up, Grimscribe, marked a major evolution in supernatural horror. Influenced by the strange terrors of Lovecraft and Poe and by the brutal absurdity of Kafka, Ligotti eschews cheap, gory thrills for his own brand of atmospheric horror, which shocks at the deepest, existential, levels.

Ligotti’s stories take on decaying cities and lurid dreamscapes in a style ranging from rich, ornamental prose to cold, clinical detachment. His raw and experimental work lays bare the unimportance of our world and the sickening madness of human consciousness. Like the greatest writers of cosmic horror, Ligotti bends reality until it cracks, opening fissures through which he invites us to gaze on the unsettling darkness of the abyss below.

While I’m thrilled this is coming out and that Ligotti is receiving more attention, it is a bit sad that it seems mainly due to Nic Pizzolato’s alleged plagiarism (You can read all about that here and decide for yourself). Watch for this title on October 6th.

The second release is another welcome addition to the line for any Twilight Zone fan. Even if you’ve never read Charles Beamont, you’ll be intimately familiar with some of his stories which he adapted for Rod Serling’s seminal series. Here’s the blurb:

Perchance to DreamThe profoundly original and wildly entertaining short stories of a legendary Twilight Zone writer

It is only natural that Charles Beaumont would make a name for himself crafting scripts for The Twilight Zone—for his was an imagination so limitless it must have emerged from some other dimension. Perchance to Dream contains a selection of Beaumont’s finest stories, including five that he later adapted for Twilight Zone episodes.

Beaumont dreamed up fantasies so vast and varied they burst through the walls of whatever box might contain them. Supernatural, horror, noir, science fiction, fantasy, pulp, and more: all were equally at home in his wondrous mind. These are stories where lions stalk the plains, classic cars rove the streets, and spacecraft hover just overhead. Here roam musicians, magicians, vampires, monsters, toreros, extraterrestrials, androids, and perhaps even the Devil himself. With dizzying feats of master storytelling and joyously eccentric humor, Beaumont transformed his nightmares and reveries into impeccably crafted stories that leave themselves indelibly stamped upon the walls of the mind. In Beaumont’s hands, nothing is impossible: it all seems plausible, even likely.

Like the Ligotti volume, this will be one of the few affordable print collections available for this author. The release date is October 13th.

Due out on the same day as the Beaumont collection is a novel (and author) I’d never heard of until Penguin announced it. The novel is called The Case Against Satan by Ray Russell. Upon research I discovered Russell is responsible for the short story that William Castle adapted into the film Mr. Sardonicus and the script for Roger Corman’s X: The Man With the X-Ray Eyes. Here’s the blurb:

The Case Against SatanBefore The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby, there was The Case Against Satan

By the twentieth century, the exorcism had all but vanished, wiped out by modern science and psychology. But Ray Russell—praised by Stephen King and Guillermo del Toro as a sophisticated practitioner of Gothic fiction—resurrected the ritual with his classic 1962 horror novel, The Case Against Satan, giving new rise to the exorcism on page, screen, and even in real life.

Teenager Susan Garth was “a clean-talking sweet little girl” of high school age before she started having “fits”—a sudden aversion to churches and a newfound fondness for vulgarity. Then one night, she strips in front of the parish priest and sinks her nails into his throat. If not madness, then the answer must be demonic possession. To vanquish the Devil, Bishop Crimmings recruits Father Gregory Sargent, a younger priest with a taste for modern ideas and brandy. As the two men fight not just the darkness tormenting Susan but also one another, a soul-chilling revelation lurks in the shadows—one that knows that the darkest evil goes by many names.

While I’m not big on possession stories, I’ll be picking this up since it predates The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby.

The last title, and the one I’m on the fence about the most, is The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter. I’m not familiar with Carter’s work and it seems the majority of it is not of the weird variety. However, this collection of reinterpreted fairy tales is certainly important, considering how much this type of thing is going on these days (i.e. Bill Willingham’s Fables, NBC’s Grimm, etc.). Here’s the blurb:

The Bloody ChamberFor the 75th anniversary of her birth, a Deluxe Edition of the master of the literary supernatural’s most celebrated book

Angela Carter was a storytelling sorceress, the literary godmother of Neil Gaiman, Audrey Niffenegger, J. K. Rowling, and other contemporary masters of supernatural fiction. In her masterpiece, The Bloody Chamber—which includes the story that is the basis of Neil Jordan’s 1984 movie The Company of Wolves—she breathed new life into familiar fairy tales and legends in a style steeped in the romantic trappings of the gothic tradition. This edition features a new introduction by Kelly Link, the Nebula and World Fantasy Award–wining author, one of a new generation of writers who’ve been inspired by Carter’s brand of fantastical, subversive, boundlessly imaginative fiction.

While I am not a fan of so-called “Magical Realism” or most of the current fairy tale pastiches out there, I figure I might check this out. This title is due for release on May 26th.

3 New Titles From Hippocampus Press

H. P. Lovecraft: Letters to Robert Bloch and OthersEarlier today, Hippocampus Press made available for pre-order, three exciting new weird publications due out in May. The first is the next title in the Collected Letters series featuring correspondence between H. P. Lovecraft and a young Robert Bloch. Below is the description from Hippocampus’ site.

H. P. Lovecraft’s generous tutelage of younger literary colleagues earned him their lifelong devotion and admiration. Few profited more by his assistance than Robert Bloch, who went on to become the celebrated author of Psychoand other classic works of horror and suspense. Establishing a correspondence with Lovecraft when he was sixteen, Bloch learned so much about the craft of writing—and about other matters—that he later stated: “Lovecraft was my university.”

This volume brings together Lovecraft’s complete extant correspondence with Bloch as well as with such other young writers, editors, and fans of the 1930s as Kenneth Sterling (who collaborated with Lovecraft on “In the Walls of Eryx”), Donald A. Wollheim (editor of the Phantagraph and a leading figure in science fiction in the decades that followed), Willis Conover (whose Lovecraft at Last is one of the most poignant books ever written about the Providence writer), and others.

As in all previous volumes in the Collected Letters series, these letters have been meticulously edited by David E. Schultz and S. T. Joshi, two of the leading authorities on Lovecraft. Also included are many rare and pertinent writings by the various correspondents, which shed light on their relationship to Lovecraft. An exhaustive bibliography and a comprehensive index conclude the volume.

I particularly like the Psycho style lettering effect on the cover. I’m also excited because I recently acquired the Underwood-Miler three volume Selected Stories of Robert Bloch, so this will make an excellent supplement.

The Bleeding Edge: Dark Barriers, Dark FrontiersThe second title is a reprint of a 2009 anthology of tales entitled The Bleeding Edge: Dark Barriers, Dark Frontiers, edited by William F. Nolan and Jason V. Brock. Originally published by Cycatrix Press, I have to admit of never having heard of this one. Based on the description below from the website, it sounds like a must have.

This acclaimed volume features one of the most distinguished lineups of any original anthology published in recent years—ranging from legends such as Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, George Clayton Johnson, Earl Hamner, Jr., and Dan O’Bannon to such leading contemporary figures as Nancy Kilpatrick, John Shirley, Joe R. Lansdale, and Steve Rasnic Tem. While basically hewing to the genre of weird fiction, The Bleeding Edge runs the gamut of subject-matter, from the ghost story to Lovecraftian horror to fantasy. There is something for everyone in this wondrously diverse book—the only point of consistency is the exemplary quality of the material.

A House of Hollow Wounds by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.The final title is a new collection by author Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. Much to my chagrin, I’ve never read anything by Pulver. I imagine this should be a good place to start and, once again, Hippocampus’ description is very enticing.

Over the past decade, Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. has attracted a worldwide audience for his stories, vignettes, and prose-poems—works that expand the boundaries of prose expression and evoke scintillating images of wonder, fear, terror, and heartbreak. In this fourth collection of tales, following Blood Will Have Its Season (2009), SIN & ashes (2010), and Portraits of Ruin (2012), we find imaginative riffs on Edgar Allan Poe, Robert W. Chambers, H. P. Lovecraft, and others—but more than that, we find the evocative melding of horror and plangency that makes Pulver the most distinctive voice in modern weird fiction.

All three of these titles are available for pre-order now from Hippocampus Press. The Bleeding Edge: Dark Barriers, Dark Frontiers is currently being offered at discount.