Sunday, April 29, 2012

Morpheus Tales XVI

Morpheus Tales XVI is now available, either via the Morpheus website (£3.50) or through Lulu (£4.50). The latter one is described as “The Large Format Collector's” edition -- in other words it's A4 sized. The regular version is A5 format.

Morpheus Tales XVI features stories from Deborah Walker, Paul Johnson-Jovanovic & James Brooks, Anthony Baynton, Sharon Baillie, Matt Leyshon, Matthew Acheson, Kyle Hemmings, James Gabriel, Gary Budgen and Philip Roberts.

The latest issue of the free Morpheus Tales Supplement is 67 pages of genre reviews, articles, columns, and a preview/review section of the anthology 13: Tales of Dark Fiction. The Supplement includes items on or by Paul Finch, Cyndi Crotts, Alan Spencer, Simon Marshall-Jones and Tim Lebbon. Get your copy from here

The Last Policeman

“What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die? Detective Hank Palace has asked this question ever since asteroid 2011L47J hovered into view. Several kilometres wide, it’s on a collision course with planet Earth, with just six precious months until impact.”

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters will be published as an eBook in July (Quirk Books $14.95)

Terror Scribes anthology

Now available: Terror Scribes edited by Adam Lowe and Chris Kelso (Dog HornPublishing – no price given on the cover). This anthology grew from a Terror Scribes gathering in 2009, which resulted in this smart-looking 250-page trade paperback. (Note: the Dog Horn website seems to be bereft of details on this book. I couldn't find any information on a brief visit just now. A mistake, I feel.)

There are 24 tales in this book, with such contributors as: Jay Eales, Jan Edwards, Derek Fox, Paul Kane, Selina Lock, Marie O’Regan, David Price and Mark West. The spooky cover illustration is by Marianna Stelmach.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Recent and forthcoming books

Eric Brown – The Devil’s Nebula (Abaddon £7.99): “Weird space … A new evil threatens the Expansion and the Vetch; the survival of both races may depend on their ability to co-operate.”

John Courtenay Grimwood – The Outcast Blade (Orbit £12.99): “history, politics and dark fantasy in an alternate Venice.” Book two of The Assassini.

N K Jemisin – The Killing Moon (Orbit £7.99): book one of the Dreamblood. “In the ancient city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. [The] priests of the dream-goddess harvest the magic of the sleeping mind and use it to heal … and kill those judged corrupt.”

Stacia Kane – Sacrificial Magic (Harper Voyager £7.99): “The departed have arrived.” Book four of the Downside Ghosts.

Tim Lebbon – The Cabin in the Woods (Titan £7.99): novelisation of the Joss Whedon scripted movie.

Tanith Lee – Killing Violets: Gods' Dogs (Immanion £10.99): not seen.

George R R Martin – The Armageddon Rag (Gollancz £18.99): reprint of the 1983 novel. Murder mystery with a touch of the supernatural, a hurrah to the 60s counter culture.

Daniel Polansky – The Straight Razor Cure (Hodder £7.99): a Low Town novel. “Here, the criminal is king. Here, people can disappear, and the lacklustre efforts of the guard ensure they are never found.”

Kim Stanley Robinson – 2312 (Orbit £18.99): “Earth is no longer our only home – advances have opened gateways to the solar system and new habitats have been created on moons, planets and in between.” But it looks as if human nature remains the same.

John Trevillian – Forever A-Men (Matador £18.99): the conclusion to the A-Men trilogy, a story of “the realisation that nothing is forever.”

Liber Ursi – Caballistic Planetary Rituals (Immanion £10.99): not seen. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Wind Through the Keyhole: review

The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King. Hodder & Stoughton £19.99

Reviewed by Mike Chinn

The Wind Through the Keyhole – the latest addition to King’s Dark Tower books – fits between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla and is essentially a story within a story within a story. The gunslinger Roland of Gilead and his band have to wait out a starkblast (think an almost instantaneous ice age that lasts a couple of days). To keep their minds off what’s happening beyond their shelter’s stone walls, Roland tells them a tale of his youth: when he and fellow gunslinger Jamie were dispatched to the mining town of Debaria to kill a shapeshifter that’s been slaughtering the locals. Just as they arrive, news comes that an entire ranch has been attacked; all but obliterated. The lone survivor, a boy named Bill Streeter, might be the key to identifying the killer. That night there’s a wind-storm, and to bolster young Bill’s spirits, Roland tells him the story which supplies the book’s title – effectively a fairytale told to Roland as a boy by his mother (and yes, there is a fairy in it; and a dragon – but I’m prepared to overlook that, just this once).

In his Foreword, King says that readers won’t need any previous knowledge of the Dark Tower sequence and Mid-World (no – not Middle Earth … not at all), but newcomers may find the eclectic mix of Western, Horror, Fantasy, Science Fiction and – yes – meta-fiction a tad baffling (if not downright irritating) at times. There are references to a lion by the name of Aslan and an eagle called Garuda; an Arthur and a Maerlyn; whilst the fairy Tim Ross encounters in the title story is pretty clearly Disney’s Tinkerbell gone bad. And although the tale young Roland tells Bill is supposed to be a traditional fable of Mid-World (with widowed mother, evil stepfather, a sinister forest, quest, kindly wizard and a sort of fairy godmother), aspects of the Dark Tower still creep in (such as a villainous tax-collector who signs himself RF/MB; which won’t mean much to anyone not familiar with the author’s universe – but should bring a nod of recognition from regulars).

But don’t let that put you off. I’ve always been in favour of blurring the genre borders – and the Dark Tower series does that in spades. Although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this to someone unfamiliar with Roland Deschain’s grim quest, it’s still a great read: the 330+ pages fly past with barely a longeur to be found. If anyone can get away with writing a novel that throws in just about every literary genre and sub-genre, it’s King.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

Joss Whedon and Tim Lebbon: what’s not to love?

By now you’ve probably been to the picture house and seen The Cabin in the Woods. And now you can read the novelisation by Tim Lebbon, based on the screenplay by Whedon and Drew Goddard (Titan Books £6.99).

“Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen. If you think you know the story, think again.” Whedon described the film as a “straight-up, balls-out, really terrifying horror movie.” I imagine the novel is no less…

Joss Whedon is perhaps best know as the man who created Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which in turn created its own shadows. Tim Lebbon is the critically acclaimed writer of Dusk, Fallen and Echo City.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Christopher Golden’s Zombie (Piatkus £8.99) is an “anthology of the undead.” Editor Golden has collected 19 stories about the undead by the likes of Joe Hill, Kelley Armstrong, Tim Lebbon, Mike Carey Joe R Lansdale and Tad Williams.

“The hungry dead have risen. They shamble down the street. They hide in backyards, car parks, shopping centres. They devour our neighbours, dogs and policemen. And they are here to stay. The real question is: what are you going to do about it?”

Recent and forthcoming books

Andrew Fukuda – The Hunt. Simon & Schuster £9.99. “When the sun goes down, start running… Against all odds, 17-year-old Gene has survived in a world where humans have been eaten to near extinction…”

Christopher Golden (ed) – Zombie. Piatkus £8.99: An anthology of the undead.

Guy Haley – Champion of Mars. Solaris £7.99: “In the far future, Mars is dying a second time. The Final War of men and spirits is beginning…”

Robin Hobb / Megan Lindholm – The Inheritance. Harper Voyager £7.99.  A collection of stories and novellas from the Six Duchies and Beyond.

Gary McMahon – Silent Voices. Solaris £7.99: Follow-up to The Concrete Grove. “Twenty years ago, three boys staggered out of an old building. [They] had no idea where they’d been, but all shared the same vague memory…”

Matthew Sprange – The Shadowmage Trilogy. Abaddon £10.99. This is an omnibus edition containing Shadowmage, Night’s Haunting and Legacy’s Price. Part of the Twilight of Kerberos series.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Theaker's Quarterly Fiction

I'm not terribly comfortable reading books and magazines on the screen and so I've bypassed Theaker's Quarterly Fiction until ... until I realised that you can buy a POD version via Lulu. Thus I ordered issues 38 and 39 for under £3.00 each (they were published in the autumn and winter of last year), and I am impressed with the quality of the finished product. Lulu's printing is top-notch. But of course, the design of the magazine itself is vital and the editors (Stephen Theaker and John Greenwood) have done an exceptional job.

TQF 38 and 39 are slim magazines of around 100 pages each. Number 38 has a lovely cover of a spaceship by Howard Watts and includes five stories by Rhys Hughes, Jim Steel, Alison Littlewood, Z J Woods and Michael Thomas. There then follows around 30 pages of book, film, comic and audio reviews.

TQF 39 has just three stories, but the first, by Rhys Hughes, is nearly 30 pages long. The other stories come from Mike Sauve and Douglas Thompson. There is an interview with Matthew Hughes and then the usual reviews section. The cover art by the same artist is no where as good as the previous issue's (the Christmas tree doesn't blend very well into the lunar landscape), although it is seasonal.

I haven't read them yet, other than the odd review and Theaker's editorial; that in #39 made me laugh. He describes some incidents when he upset writers or other small press publishers, mostly in reviews. But the thing is, and I agree with the editor, if you review something which is "bad", you have to be honest in your review. Theaker's Quarterly Fiction 40 is, I imagine, due soon.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Female of the Species & Other Terror Tales

Shadow Publishing's David Sutton has announced The Female of the Species & Other Terror Tales by Richard Davis, due 2012. (£7.99; ISBN: 978-0-9539032-4-5; Cover Artwork by Caroline O'Neal)

Richard (1935-2005) never saw a collection of his stories published in his lifetime and this book includes all of the author's short stories, culled from as far back as 1963 and The Fourth Pan Book of Horror Stories, up to the 1980s. The collection contains an introduction about his life, the fiction and anthologies, including his work as story editor for the BBC's Late Night Horror series. The book will also feature two rare articles and an interview with the author, from the late 1960s.

Introduction by David A. Sutton
The Female of the Species
Elsie and Agnes
A Day Out
The Lady by the Stream
The Inmate
A Nice Cut off the Joint
Guy Fawkes Night
The Time of Waiting
The Sick Room
The Clump
The Nondescript
What We Were Looking for in Horror
An Interview with Richard Davis
Horror in Fiction

Further details here and here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Writing workshop in Wales

In case you missed the announcement, The Alchemy Press team is running a writers' workshop in Wales, near the town of Hay-on-Wye. More details here.

Alchemy Press Editorial Services

The Alchemy Press' new Editorial Service is aimed for writers of fiction – both new and established writers – who require help with their manuscripts, be it a general edit for sense, pace, etc; or for the final line edit/proofread and layout before it is submitted to an editor for possible publication. We cater for writers of fantasy, horror, science fiction, supernatural, noir crime, etc, from the age of twelve years and up.

We also offer a book designing service. People familiar with Alchemy Press titles will know how important it is to produce attractive publications, books that will not look out of place on the bookshelf. Click here for further details.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

“It’s the year 2788, and the universe is divided into two different kinds of people: the Norms, who can portal between other planets, and people like me, the one in a thousand who are born with an immune system which doesn’t allow as to leave the Earth…  I’ve got a plan to change all that… I’m every bit as good as they are, and I’m going to prove it…”

Earth Girl is Janet Edwards’ debut novel, coming from Harper Voyager in August (£7.99). The author lives in the Midlands; after reading maths at Oxford and years of writing technical documents, she’s turned her hand to SF. (Note: cover image may change before publication.)

Recent and forthcoming books

Madeline Ashby – VN. Angry Robot £8.99. The First Machine Dynasty. “Amy Peterson is a von Neuman machine – a self-replicating humanoid robot.  “…When her grandmother arrives and attacks her mother, little Amy wastes no time: she eats her alive…”
Michael Crichton & Richard Preston – Micro. HarperCollins £7.99. Crichton’s unfinished manuscript completed by Preston. “Three men are found dead in a locked Honolulu office. There is no sign of a struggle, but their bodies are covered in ultra-fine razor cuts.”
Dana Fredsti – Plague Town. Titan £6.99. An Ashley Parker Novel. This is the first in an urban fantasy series of zombie novels. “People are dying. Then they are waking up. Hungry.”
Deborah Harkness – Shadow of Night. Headline £16.99. The sequel to A Discovery of Witches, book two of the All Souls trilogy. Historical fantasy, coming in July.
Ian Irvine – Vengeance. Orbit £8.99. The Tainted Realm, book 1. “Twelve years ago two, children witnessed a murder that still haunts them as adults… A realm in peril… A people betrayed… One slave holds the key…”
Paul S Kemp – The Hammer and the Blade. Angry Robot £7.99. A tale of Egil & Nix. “Kill the demon… Steal the treasure… Retire to a life of luxury.” That’s the plan, but like all good ideas…
Helen Lowe – The Gathering of the Lost. Orbit £13.99. The Wall of Night, book 2. “Five years after the Darkswarm assault on her stronghold home, Malian of Night remains missing… But not all accept her death and now her enemies are on the hunt…”
Mike Shevdon – Strangeness and Charm. Angry Robot £8.99. The Courts of the Feyre, book 3. Urban fantasy.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Dance With Dragons

The fifth book in George R R Martin’s epic A Song of Ice and Fire is now out as a two-volume paperback: A Dance With Dragons volume one: Dreams and Dust; and volume two: After the Feast (Harper Voyager £8.99 each). This series is extremely popular with sales of the books over one million copies. Plus, of course, there is the highly successful TV series.

Quoting the back cover blurb is probably redundant. If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous four volumes you’ll want these books (if you haven’t already rushed out to buy them). If you haven’t yet sampled the saga and you have a yearning to do so, I suggest you go out and find volume one and start there.

George Martin has written over a dozen novels plus many, many fine short stories and scripts for television and film.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

“Hannah Payne’s life has been devoted to church and family. So how has she become a convicted murderer? Set in a dystopian extremist right-wing future, this is the chilling new novel from the author of Mudbound, for fans of The handmaid’s Tale and The Scarlet Letter.”

Imprisoned, Hannah’s skin colour is genetically altered to red, the colour of a murderer – of her unborn child. And now she protects the identities of the father and of the abortionist – in an “alien America”.

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan is published in May by HarperCollins £12.99.